World number one Novak Djokovic has hailed Maria Sharapova for being ‘very courageous’ to admit her failed drugs test, but must “suffer consequences,”
The five-time Grand Slam winner, 28, revealed on Monday she tested positive for meldonium in January.
“I do feel sorry [for] her, but it’s normal to accept that under these circumstances the player has to suffer certain consequences,” Djokovic said.
Russian Sharapova will be provisionally suspended from 12 March.
Earlier this week, world number two Andy Murray said Sharapova “must accept responsibility” for failing the test, while women’s world number one Serena Williams said her rival had shown “a lot of courage”.
Former world number one Sharapova says she has been taking the drug, which was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list on 1 January, for health reasons for the past 10 years.
“As a friend, I really hope that she will find the best possible way,” world number one Djokovic added.
“I thought she was very courageous and it was very human and brave of her to go out and take the responsibility and say what has happened. She did admit that she made a mistake with her team.”
Eleven-time Grand Slam-winner Djokovic also said too many tennis players rely on medication to feel healthy.
“I feel like in the sport in general that there is maybe a conviction with many athletes that maybe medication and certain substances can make you feel healthy or make you feel better,” he said.
“I don’t believe in that kind of short term process. I believe in long term balance and harmonious health and well-being that is achieved from different aspects.
“I wouldn’t say there is a magic potion or elixir that can make you feel better.”