08:41 GMT +323 January 2020
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    Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova's announcement that she had failed a drug test immediately grabbed global headlines; a whole array of fans and noted tennis players have continued to offer their words of support through social networks.

    Using Twitter, a wide array of fans and prominent tennis players expressed support for Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova, whose recent announcement that she had failed a drug test immediately made international headlines.

    Retired Czech and American tennis player Martina Navratilova, who was selected by the Tennis magazine as the greatest female tennis player for the years 1965 through 2005, warned against jumping to conclusions.

    Navratilova was echoed by American tennis player Ryan Harrison, who also described Sharapova taking the drug meldonium as an "honest mistake.

    Noted US tennis coach Brad Gilbert pointed the finger at Sharapova's team when touching upon the scandal.

    Retired American tennis player Michael Russel, for his part, gave kudos to Sharapova's strength of mind during a press conference.

    Echoing him was a Twitter user nicknamed SAAR who also heaped praise on Sharapova's spiritual strength.

    A Twitter user with the nickname Jen did not think twice before touting Sharapova as "always my champ."

    The drug scandal came days after Sharapova announced that she would not be participating in the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, due to a left forearm injury.

    The 28-year-old is ranked as the 6th best tennis player in the world by the Women's Tennis Association, and ranked number 1 in singles on five separate occasions. Born in Siberia, she has played professionally since 2001, when she was only 14-years-old.

    Sharapova is the only Russian to hold the career Grand Slam, and earned Russia a silver medal for women's singles during the 2012 Summer Olympics.


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