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Boris Becker in favour of second chance for Maria Sharapova

International Business Times logo International Business Times 17/02/2017 Abhinav Kini
Maria Sharapova © Getty Maria Sharapova

Boris Becker is all for Maria Sharapova getting a second chance as she nears a return to tennis after a doping ban.

The 29-year-old failed a drug test at the 2016 Australian Open, testing positive for meldonium and was subsequently suspended from the sport for two years by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

However, the five time Grand Slam champion's ban was eventually reduced to just 15 months in October 2016 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Tennis legend, Becker feels Sharapova has paid her dues and is deserving of a second chance.

"In principal I am all for a second chance," Becker told Reuters. "She (Sharapova) paid her dues, she was suspended for quite a long time. I don't know about the reaction of the other players, it's up to them."

"Everyone has their own choice. Hopefully the atmosphere (inside the locker room) will be good. We can move on and have good women's champions," he said.

Sharapova claims she didn't intentionally violate the anti-doping rules as meldonium became a banned substance only at the start of 2016.

Becker believes that despite the Russian's high profile ban, tennis is still very much a clean sport, and that the testing system still works.

"I think most tennis players are responsible," he added. "If you see in the men's side there is no one inside the top 100 (that isn't clean) and in the women's side -- I think Maria is the exception -- all of the other tennis players are clean.

"Tennis is an Olympic sport so the tests are very severe and strong and the penalties are strong. I think the system works. Maybe it speaks volumes of the system because a high-profile player like Sharapova was caught."

Sharapova is on course to make her return to tennis in April, just in time for the 2017 French Open.

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