The tennis world has been engulfed in a doping storm after two-time grand slam champion Simona Halep was banned for four years for two separate anti-doping rule violations.
The Romanian tennis star, and winner of both Wimbledon and the French Open, last week announced she is set to appeal the ban, but the controversy has put many players on edge.
On Thursday Greek tennis player Maria Sakkari spoke out on the current anti-doping procedures, calling them “scary” and “stressful”.
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“One thing I can tell you for sure is the way they’re handling every situation with any player, any athlete, it’s just scary. We’re going to get to a point where we’re not even going to be taking electrolytes,” she said after reaching the quarter-finals of the San Diego Open.
“Thankfully, I haven’t been in (Halep’s) position.
“I never want to be. I’ve been very careful with everything that has to do with supplements. But I don’t know what the process is, how things are done behind closed doors. I don’t know who has a say. I have no idea.
Sakkari says not knowing when anti-doping testers will turn up creates a lot of stress for players. Credit: Getty Images
“I would for sure improve the ‘whereabouts’ app that the anti-doping app. It doesn’t work well. It’s supposed to remind you every day of your time slot and it doesn’t.
“They tried to improve it, but it’s not working very well. For us, we travel so much compared to other athletes. It’s just very stressful. I wake up almost every night to use the bathroom. If that’s close to my time slot, I’m just thinking ‘Do I go? Do I not go? Do I just wait if they come?’ It’s just very stressful.”
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But the comments caught the eye of controversial tennis ace Nick Kyrgios.
Upon seeing the Sakkari story, the injury-cursed Aussie chimed in on social media.
“Ehhhh … not really lol,” Kyrgios tweeted.
“I run on bananas and coke cola (sic) in five-set battles. And my record in them speaks for itself.
“Maybe players should just stop taking shady s**t. Look yourself in the mirror at the end of the day and say, ‘yep, I did it right’. Not hard.”
Nick Kyrgios didn’t back down when fans had a crack at him. Credit: Getty Images
Fans soon came after Kyrgios, but he doubled down.
“I’d imagine if I was taking similar things to be banned for four years … I’d have about five slams. Potato,” he said.
Kyrgios has endured a horror 12 months through injury and his tennis ranking has been in freefall.
The 28-year-old has played just one competitive match during the season as his struggles with wrist and knee injuries continues.
He is currently ranked 469 in the world but he recently asked fans to be patient.
“To my millions of fans out there, I guess we just have to be patient,” Kyrgios wrote in an Instagram story, accompanied by a picture of him in the gym.
“Trust me, I still have some fire left in the tank, my body just needs time to recover and get back.”
– With Digital Staff
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