PR takeaways from Maria Sharapova’s doping crisis

The tennis star shocked fans and the press when she revealed she had unwittingly taken a proscribed drug. How she handled the scrutiny is something all PR pros should note. Here are a few takeaways.

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Maria Sharapova captivated the world as a bright-eyed 17-year-old teenager when she defeated Serena Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final. Since then, Sharapova has crafted a reputation as one of the best, smartest, richest players in the sport.

Fast forward 12 years to the March, 2016 press conference where Sharapova shocked the world.

And the walls came tumbling down

“But on 1 January the rules had changed and meldonium became a prohibited substance, which I had not known. I failed the test and I take full responsibility for it. I made a huge mistake.”

Sharapova had failed a doping test and had been provisionally banned by the International Tennis Federation—a professional athlete’s worst nightmare.

PR pros take note of Sharapova’s master class in crisis management:

Key performance indicators of her crisis management:

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