Outspoken Aussie tennis player Nick Kyrgios has hit out at women's star Maria Sakkari after the Greek expressed her concerns around supplements and the strict anti-doping measures at the highest levels of the sport. Simona Halep's four-year ban for two separate anti-doping rule violations has thrust the issue very much into the spotlight.
The former Wimbledon and French Open champion says she will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after testing positive for a banned blood-booster at the US Open last year. Halep had blamed a contaminated supplement for the presence of traces of the anaemia drug roxadustat that was found in her system.
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Halep says she adjusted her nutritional supplements ahead of last year's hard court season on the recommendations of her "trusted team and physiotherapist". The Romanian says she will "pursue all legal remedies against the supplement company in question" and will do everything possible to clear her name.
Maria Sakkari labels tennis anti-doping measures 'scary'
Responding to the controversy this week, Sakkari said her and other players were not happy about the intense anti-doping measures they are forced to undertake. The Greek World No.9 says the level of testing and constant fears about supplements most elite stars are taking make it "very stressful" to be a player on the professional circuit.
“One thing I can tell you for sure is the way they’re handling every situation with any player, any athlete, it’s just scary,” Sakkari said. “We’re going to get to a point where we’re not even gonna be taking electrolytes.
"Thankfully, I haven’t been in that position. I never want to be. I’ve been very careful with everything that has to do with supplements. But I don’t know what the process is, how things are done behind closed doors.
“I don’t know who has a say. I have no idea... I would for sure improve the whereabouts app, that's the anti-doping app. It doesn’t work well. It’s supposed to remind you every day of your time slot and it doesn’t. They tried to improve it, but it’s not working very well.
"For us, we travel so much compared to other athletes. It’s just very stressful. I wake up almost every night to use the bathroom. If that’s close to my time slot, I’m just thinking ‘Do I go? Do I not go? Do I just wait if they come?’ It’s just very stressful.”
Nick Kyrgios hits out after Maria Sakkari comments
Kyrgios - whose levels of professionalism have often been called into question - replied to Sakkari's concerns in a brutally dismissive manner. The Aussie star said rather than complain about the strict anti-doping measures in place at the elite level of the sport, his solution was for players to merely "stop taking shady" substances.
Ehhhh not really lol, I run on bananas and coke cola in 5 set battles. And my record in them speaks for itself. Maybe players should just stop taking shady sh*t 😂 look yourself in the mirror at the end of the day and say yep I did it right. Not hard.
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) September 14, 2023
“Ehhhh not really lol,” Kyrgios posted on Twitter in response to Sakkari's concerns. “I run on bananas and coke cola (sic) in 5 set battles. And my record in them speaks for itself.
“Maybe players should just stop taking shady sh*t. Look yourself in the mirror at the end of the day and say yep I did it right. Not hard.”
Kyrgios copped backlash for his comments online, before hitting back at one user by declaring: “I’d imagine if I was taking similar things to be banned for 4 years I’d have about 5 slams. Potato”. Kyrios has been plagued by injuries that have ruled him out of every grand slam tournament in 2023, but has vowed to return to the court in 2024.
The Aussie posted a photo of himself at a gym workout last month alongside a message to fans that suggested his return to court was not too far away. He wrote: "To my millions of fans out there, I guess we just have to be patient.
"Trust me, I still have some fire left in the tank, my body just needs time to recover and get back. Everything off-court is doing great. l am eyeing to come back and have a season like my last again." The 28-year-old had the best year of his career in 2022, reaching the final at Wimbledon and the quarter-finals at the US Open.
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