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The flipside of its reputation for impeccable sportsmanship is that it is often far too ingratiating and self-regarding for its own good.c Enroe fulminated recently that tennis players were far too pleasant to one another. A few high-fives, the obligatory selfie with Sir Elton John, and some priceless publicity amid a blaze of Las Vegas neon.This is the savage punishment that the sport sees fit to bestow upon Maria Sharapova, who, one could be forgiven for forgetting, is not even halfway through a 15-month ban for doping.“I can’t advocate people not liking each other but I’d prefer it,” he said.If he is to be the change that he seeks, then he might start by refusing to usher a woman like Sharapova back into the fold so easily.
A ban should mean exactly that, with all loopholes closed off.
c Enroe, Navratilova and Roddick rolled out the red carpet for her as if she were a long-lost friend. Tennis is a mates’ club, a cabal, an environment in which the slightest criticism of a superstar is regarded as sacrilege.
Tennis hit-and-giggles are tough watches at the best of times, but doubly so when they feature this tarnished, incorrigibly entitled swan.
ers was a performance more carefully calibrated than Hillary Clinton’s on debate night.
At a time when Sharapova should have the decency to step away from the Caesar’s Palace arclights and take her medicine – it might be a good idea to avoid meldonium for a while – she is profiting from the exposure her presence brings.