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By Alberto Amalfi | Monday, June 20, 2016

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova's attorney blasted WADA president Craig Reedie as "unprofessional" for his comments about Sharapova's wealth and demanded an apology.

Photo credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Maria Sharapova's next court appearance decides her immediate competitive future.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport will hear Sharapova's appeal of her two-year drug suspension and reach a final ruling in her case within a month.

Watch: Sharapova Banned

Shots are already being fired between Sharapova's camp and the World Anti Doping Agency.

WADA president Craig Reedie commented on Sharapova's case prompting Sharapova's attorney to strike back and blast Reedie as "unprofessional."

Reedie was quoted as saying the only satisfaction he derived from the case was that Sharapova, who ranked as the world's highest-paid female athlete for 11 of the last 12 years, "in one year can earn more money than the whole of WADA's budget put together."

Telegraph journalist Ben Bloom tweeted Reedie's complete comment here:

Sharapova topped the Forbes highest-paid female athlete rankings for 11 consecutive years until world No. 1 Serena Williams surpassed her this year, earning $28.9 million. Sharapova collected $21.9 million over the past year with $20 million coming from lucrative endorsements, including Nike and Head.

Sharapova's attorney, John Haggerty, immediately rebuked Reedie's remarks as "unprofessional" and demanded an apology for Sharapova and all players for the implication that "WADA has different standards for players depending on their ranking and earnings."

"The statement made today by the WADA president is unprofessional," Haggerty said in a statement. "Justice, whether in the eyes of WADA or a court, must be blind, including being blind to a player's earnings. Mr. Reedie owes an apology to Maria and to all successful tennis players unless he wants fans to think WADA has different standards for players depending on their ranking and earnings."

Haggerty, who has suggested Sharapova's fame made her a target for WADA after she tested positive for meldonium at the Australian Open in January, could try to use Reedie's comments to argue an unfair bias against her when he leads her case before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Reedie's three-year term as WADA president concludes at the end of the year.

Incoming WADA president Olivier Niggli told the Associated Press in April that the level of meldonium detected in Sharapova's test sample was "not even a question" when asked if the WADA's admission it cannot say with scientific certainty how long it takes for meldonium to completely exit the system could be used to strengthen Sharapova's defense.


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