"I feel for her" - Novak Djokovic in show of support towards Maria Sharapova

"I just hope she gets out of this stronger"

BY Newstalk 19:54 Wednesday 9 March 2016, 19:54 9 Mar 2016

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates during the Davis Cup World Group first round tennis match against Kazakhstans Mikhail Kukushkin, in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, March 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Novak Djokovic has lent his support to Maria Sharapova after her failed drug test.

The World No 1 says that he hopes that Sharapova "gets out of this stronger" after her admission that he tested postive for the recently-banned drug Meldonium at this year's Australian Open.

Djokovic told the website TMZ: "I obviously wish her all the best. I've known her for a long time. I feel for her with all that's happening and I just hope she gets out of this stronger."

The Serbian's comments follow those of Sharapova's rival Serena Williams, who described her as "courageous".

Meanwhile, the International Tennis Federation has confirmed that Sharapova would have been notified on five separate occasions in December last year that meldonium was about to become a banned substance.

However, the tennis governing body has also denied the suggestion by the former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Dick Pound, that it had flagged the use of meldonium to the WADA committee that monitors the use of various drugs and recommends whether to put them on the banned list.

It has also emerged that WADA tested for Meldonium since 2015 and that 13 medalists and athletes in 15 of the the 21 sports at the inaugural European Games in Baku tested positive for the substance.

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