Murray: Careful to read everything that is relevant to him

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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) Scottish tennis star Andy Murray reacted to Maria Sharapova’s failed drug test by noting that he’s careful to read everything that is relevant to him.

Sharapova said this week that she had tested positive for meldonium because she didn’t read the email from the World Anti-Doping Agency that said the drug was on the prohibited list this year. The Russian called it a huge mistake.

“Everyone’s obviously different,” Murray said Thursday at the BNP Paribas Open. “Some people put a lot of trust in the people and the team around them so it’s hard to say what’s the right thing for everyone, but I think it’s almost part of our job to know everything that’s going into our bodies and not just rely on what a doctor is saying or a physio is saying.”

Murray said since Sharapova’s announcement he has been reading about meldonium, too, and what he’s learned makes him wonder about those using it.

“The stories like this happen regularly,” he said. “It seems like it’s almost a weekly occurrence, so I wouldn’t say it was shocking, really. Obviously, since then you try and read about it and learn as much as you can and try to understand what’s really going on. I read that 55 athletes have failed tests for that substance since Jan. 1. You don’t expect such high-level athletes, at the top of many sports, to have heart conditions.”

Meldonium, virtually unheard of in the U.S., has been widely-used in Eastern Europe and former Soviet countries for heart conditions. But it was placed on the banned list because it enhances oxygen uptake and endurance.

A study recently released by the British Journal of Sports Medicine said that during last year’s European Games meldonium may have been used by almost 500 athletes and there were 66 positive tests.

“This study highlights the widespread and inappropriate use and prescribing of this prescription drug in a generally healthy athlete population,” the researchers said.

Murray thinks that’s a problem with more than just meldonium, too.

“I think taking a prescription drug that you don’t need just because it’s legal, that’s wrong,” he said. “If you’re taking a prescription drug and you’re not using it for what that drug was meant for, then you don’t need it, so you’re just using it for the performance enhancing benefits that drug is giving you.”

That being the case, Murray said, the penalty should be obvious.

“If you’re taking performance-enhancing drugs and you fail a drug test you have to get suspended,” he said.

Sonego beats Bublik at Moselle Open to win 1st title of 2022

Winston-Salem Open - Day 5
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METZ, France – Lorenzo Sonego clinched his first title of the season by beating Alexander Bublik 7-6 (3), 6-2 in the Moselle Open final on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Italian did not drop a set all tournament as he won the third title of his career and first on hard courts.

The unseeded Sonego recovered from 0-40 down in the fifth game of the match and secured victory when the seventh-seeded Bublik sent a backhand return long.

He then danced on court as he celebrated a perfect tournament where he also beat defending champion Hubert Hurkacz in the semifinals.

Sonego’s win will move him up 21 places in the ATP rankings and into 44th place.

Samsonova beats Zheng to win 3rd WTA title in 2 months

Toray Pan Pacific Open - Day Seven
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TOKYO – Liudmila Samsonova of Russia extended a remarkable summer run by clinching her third title in two months after beating rising Chinese player Zheng Qinwen 7-5, 7-5 at the Toray Pan Pacific Open on Sunday.

No. 30-ranked Samsonova won in Washington and Cleveland in August and also reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open. The 23-year-old has now won 18 of her last 19 matches and didn’t drop a set in Tokyo.

“It’s amazing. I think I need a little bit of time to realize it, but it’s unbelievable,” Samsonova said. “It was like a nervous match today. I was really prepared physically but I was tired mentally because I was playing singles and doubles every day. I’m very happy with the way I managed the pressure.”

Samsonova added that the exclusion of Russian players from Wimbledon had helped her game though she stopped short of supporting the move.

“Wimbledon for me is the best tournament. I love it. The news really impacted me. I had one month without a tournament so I thought let’s work,” she said, adding: “I don’t agree that politics should be involved in sports because it’s unfair.”

The match between two power hitters with big serves was close throughout but Samsonova was striking the ball cleaner and stronger.

Zheng, who ousted top-seeded Paula Badosa and No. 4-seeded Veronika Kudermetova, was broken in the first set after giving up her first double fault on deuce in the 11th game.

Samsonova, who defeated Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in the first round and former world No. 1 Garbine Muguruza in the quarterfinals, then sent a perfect forehand that landed in the right-hand corner of the court to break the 19-year-old and go 6-5 up. She took the first set with another strong service game that included her third ace.

Zheng was the first to crack in the second set when she handed Samsonova free points with two double-faults in the fifth game. A double-fault by the Russian saw her drop to 0-40 in the next game and the No. 36-ranked Chinese broke back to level at 3-3.

As in the first set, Zheng was broken in the 11th game. A long forehand at deuce gave Samsonova a breakpoint and she converted it with a crosscourt forehand that sent her opponent the wrong way. Samsonova then won her next game to love after three errors by Zheng, clinching the match 7-5, 7-5.

Samsonova has now won all of the finals she has appeared in.

In reaching the final, Zheng became the youngest Chinese finalist at a tour-level event, beating the mark set by Peng Shuai.