French tennis player Kristina Mladenovic has come out in criticism of the provisionally banned Maria Sharapova, saying "all the players are saying she's a cheater".
Mladenovic gave Sharapova a serve in French newspaper Le Parisien, as reported by The Guardian, after Sharapova last week announced she had tested positive to the banned substance meldonium during this year's Australian Open. She is provisionally suspended and faces a lengthy ban from tennis.
Sharapova failed drug test at Australian Open
Former world number one tennis player Maria Sharapova announces she failed a drug test at the 2016 Australian Open. Vision courtesy ABC News 24.
"[Sharapova] has no excuse that can defend what she's done. For me there's no doubt," Mladenovic said.
"She wasn't really liked. I respected her for her career but she wasn't really nice nor polite, let's be honest.
"At least the good news to come out of all of this is that the anti-doping programme is working and that even if you're among the best players you're going to get caught and it's going to get out."
Mladenovic said all the other players on tour said the Russian had cheated.
"You sure doubt and think that she didn't deserve all she won until now," she said.
"That's dreadful, but it's good that it's finally out. As far as I am concerned if I take an aspirin I worry 10 times about what I do.
"She's been taking this drug for 10 years and it's a serious drug. She has played with the rules and thought, if it's not banned, then I can take it. For me that's very disappointing. I don't like the mentality to be the best by playing with the rules."
But Sharapova received some qualified support from Novak Djokovic, when he praised his "courageous" and "brave" friend for taking public responsibility for her positive test.
However he said that the 28-year-old grand slam champion should face consequences if she was found to have tested positive to a banned substance.
"I make no excuses for not knowing about the ban. I already told you about the December 22, 2015 email I received. Its subject line was 'Main Changes to the Tennis Anti-Doping Program for 2016'. I should have paid more attention to it," Sharapova wrote.
"But the other 'communications'? They were buried in newsletters, websites, or handouts."
Sharapova also detailed her use of the now-banned drug, saying she did not take it every day.
She indicated she had only used it intermittently, in line with the manufacturer's guidelines, saying: "I didn't take the medicine every day. I took it the way my doctor recommended I take it and I took it in the low doses recommended."
Sharapova previously said she had been taking the drug for 10 years.