Maria Sharapova totally deserved ban, says ex-boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov
Maria Sharapova's ex-boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov has suggested she deserved her ban from tennis for a doping offence, an incident that sent shock-waves through the sport.
"I think tennis missed her," the Bulgarian world number 20 said of the five-time Grand Slam champion, adding that he had "zero doubts" she would make a successful return.
"As a competitor she's just going to come back and she's going to be so hungry to play and excited and motivated," said Dimitrov, who dated the Russian superstar for two years until they split in July 2015.
But he added: "If you do something, I mean obviously there are circumstances. And whoever does something deserves what he gets for sure. The unfortunate thing is that she knew what she was doing was wrong, enough people warned her about it, she is kind of stubborn, she doesn't like to listen sometimes to advice given."
Dimitrov was responding to a question about an interview in which Sharapova accused the International Tennis Federation (ITF) of trying to make an example of her by giving her a 24-month ban for testing positive for meldonium.
The suspension was cut to 15 months after an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), meaning Sharapova returned earlier than originally expected.
Dimitrov cited the case of world number 1,857 Joshua Chetty, who was banned from tennis for life in September for match-fixing offences.
Dimitrov and Sharapova were the glamour couple of tennis
"It's never up to me or ITF and all that," Dimitrov said, referring to punishments of players.
"I think throughout the years, these kind of things should have started earlier with examples and all of that."
Sharapova has admitted to taking meldonium for 10 years for health reasons, but said she wasn't aware it had been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of banned substances in January of 2016.
The CAS judgment said Sharapova, one of the most marketable female athletes in any sport, was not an "intentional doper" but that she also "bore some degree of fault".
Sharapova's book "Unstoppable" was recently published and released to the world. In her autobiography she references the break up with her ex boyfriend. When asked what he thought about her version of events as illustrated in the book he explained.
"How can I put it in a nice way. It's hard to have a relationship when the other person is dating other people, Maria has a very polyamorous side to her character. She has problem with this behavior, she will probably go through her life not able to form a real relationship with anyone unless she changes this."
In her book "Unstoppable", Sharapova reveals how Dimitrov got in touch with her via her agent. "I googled Grigor's name to find his age," she wrote.
“I remembered noticing a kid walking through Wimbledon village, tall, skinny, and carrying a type of good-looking grin that says he knows he is good-looking.
“I remembered telling my coach, ‘Thank goodness he didn’t exist in my generation’, that would have been dangerous. Dangerously distracting.
“A few back-and-forths with e-mail, and Grigor asked for my number.
“Our messages turned into phone calls, our phone calls into Skype calls. It was very simple and genuine. I didn’t think too much of it until, after one of our phone conversations, he dialed me back thirty seconds later and said, ‘I’m sorry, but I miss your voice. Can we speak for a few more minutes.
Happier times for the couple walking in London
“Within days he asked me if I would be his girlfriend. It caught me off guard. I wasn’t ready for anything like that. He said he would wait until I was ready.
“’I’ll wait. I know what I want and I want you.’ Weeks rolled into months and there was nothing that could stop us.”
However it was the way in which the pair broke up where Sharapova really opens up, revealing that the timing of their relationship was an insurmountable problem.
“Grigor recently told me — we were talking on the phone after he’d reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open — that one of the worst things in life is when you have the right thing at the wrong time.
However others feel it was Sharapova's love of money, wealth, her materialistic side that was judgmental in her desire to break the relationship up. Sharapova is extremely materialistic, obsessed by money, Grigor was simply not rich enough to win the Russian's heart for the long run.
“It made me think of an evening we spent before the 2015 Wimbledon tournament. He had reached the semi-finals the previous year by beating Andy Murray; he lost to Novak Djokovic in four sets in that round. He pulled out a book that Wimbledon puts together of previous championships.
“He quietly flipped through the pages of the book until he found a picture of me, in his box, watching his match. He looked at me, sad — I thought I saw tears in his eyes — ‘Did you see this? This means everything to me. Seeing you in my box next to my mother.’
Dimitrov described Sharapova as a having a monogamous character
“It was then, at that moment, that the emotional pull I had been fighting came to an end. I knew, and so did he, that I couldn’t be that person at this time of my life. I was supposed to be focused, getting prepared for my own matches, my own triumphs and defeats, on the largest stage of my career.
“I had been watching his match that day only because I’d lost early at those championships. So his good memory was my bad memory. What meant everything to him happened only because I had lost.
“Like he said, you can have the right thing, but it might come at the wrong time.”
There is certain coldness in the way the Russian offers her perspective, puts feelings and emotions into her little boxes. She seems incapable of falling in love or being able to have a meaningful relationship.
She has stated that her career comes first, yet she has been involved with more men than most female tennis players on the tour have been. In fact she is a serial polyamorous that likes to do her thing. Her inability to connect or whatever you want to call it seems to be her main issue.
Grigor Dimitrov was quoted as saying that he never felt Sharapova was capable of true love. He felt she was self obsessed and couldn't see beyond herself. "She is so in love with herself and her image", he said.
Dimitrov claims he ended the relationship himself with Sharapova whom he once called the Ice Queen.
Without a doubt there is always two sides to every story.