INDIAN WELLS, California -- The first major stop since the Australian Open began Wednesday at Indian Wells, but the bulk of questions directed at the top stars was not the tennis but the news of Maria Sharapova testing positive for the recently banned drug meldonium.
Here's what the players had to say at round-table news conferences:
Novak Djokovic: Well, it's been the talk of the tennis world for the last couple of days, and this kind of news caught us all by surprise. I think I can talk about Maria and her situation from two perspectives. First as a friend, somebody that knows her for a long time, of course I do feel sorry about what's happening with her. I know that she has always been very responsible and aware towards herself, towards the sport, very disciplined, very kind of hard working, hard-working ethics, and love what she does.
She believes and still does believe that the hard work really pays off, and that's what gets her titles. So as a friend, I really hope that she will find the best possible way. I thought she was very courageous and was very human, brave of her, to go out and take the responsibility and say what has happened. She did admit that she made a mistake with her team, and I think you don't have to blame WADA for anything.
It's completely normal to expect that under these circumstances the player that has made this mistake has to suffer certain kind of consequences, and I'm sure she's aware of that. She has approached this very maturely. I really admire that. On the other hand, from the different perspective, I talk as somebody that is involved in professional tennis and sport for so many years that always believed in clean and fair sport. So I do -- I do hope that -- I mean, obviously I can't speak about the details because I don't know.
I know as much as you guys know whether or not she was aware of the changes. But certainly if there was a mistake and if she was caught to be positive on the doping for a certain substance, then there should be certain kind of, you know, consequences for that. But, again, I'm not here to talk about, you know, whether or not she needs to be away from the courts for certain periods of time. You know, I leave this to WADA and antidoping agency and organizations that are responsible for that.
Serena Williams: "I was as surprised as everyone else. I don't think anyone was expecting that. I was just shocked."
"The majority of the players play with integrity. They do things when they're out there because they want to be the best they can the right way. Just like the world. We live in a massive world with billions of people and there are a few people who do things and it makes people scared but that doesn't make the whole world a bad situation and a bad place. That's the same thing with tennis. The majority of players here, for year and years and years, pride themselves on having integrity and playing with that. I think that beyond these two situations, we're still out there and we're still working hard.
"I think it's disappointing for all the players, all those who work hard but I don't think it doesn't reflect on everyone. We've been working since we were four or five years old and players have been on the tour for 10, 12, 13 years. So it's really important to look at the bigger picture and all these amazing players, both men and women, that speaks to the wonderful world of tennis.''
Andy Murray: "The stories like this happen regularly in sports, it seems like it's almost a weekly occurrence. So I wouldn't say it was shocking. ... I've read 55 athletes have failed tests for that substance since January 1st. You just don't expect high level athletes at the top of many different sports to have heart conditions.
"I read all the stuff that is relevant to me, anti-inflammatories, or if I have a rash on my leg or skin, I'll check to make sure myself and also get a doctor with the LTA, I'll get him to check, he's obviously more knowledgeable about that than me but it's quite easy to check.
"Some people put a lot of trust in the team around them, so it's hard to say what is the right thing for everyone but I think it's part of her job to know everything that's going into our bodies and not rely on just what a doctor is saying or a physio is saying, that you checked yourself and double-checked that anything going into your body is safe.
"Last year, I certainly got tested a lot but this year I've been tested twice and we're three months into the year, whereas last year I got tested loads. To get tested twice three months into the year is clearly not enough."
Rafael Nadal: "It's terrible news for the world of sport, in general, and for our sport. I think it's terrible, because the sport must be clean and must look clean. The good news about this is that we have a good anti-doping program, [and] that the players who are not doing the right thing are going on a trial.
"I have no temptation in doing something wrong. I believe in the sport and the value of the sport. The sport is an example for the society; it's an example for the kids. If I am doing something against that, then I am lying to myself, lying to my opponents. That would be something really bad for me. I have no temptation of doing a negative thing. I am a fair player, and I love the sport as a player, as a competitor and as a follower. When something negative happens in the world of sport, I am sad because the sport is an example for the society and for the kids, in general.
"I am 100 percent confident with my team, and at the same time, I know all the things I am taking. It is difficult to imagine that something like this can happen, but everyone can make mistakes. I want to believe that for sure it was a mistake for Maria, that she didn't want to do it, but it is a result of negligence. But the rules are like this, and it's fair, and now she must pay for it."
Kei Nishikori: "I was surprised and very sad to hear that she was taking something that she shouldn't take. It's very sad for tennis, even men's tennis. I don't know many details, so I can't say much, but maybe she has to take care a little more with her team."
Belinda Bencic: "I opened that email [from WADA] at the end of December. We all got an email. ... I look at the list, especially when I'm feeling a little bit sickly, and check and look what is inside there and see if it's not forbidden."
Angelique Kerber: "It's a combination of [me and the team]. At the end, I'm checking everything twice, or three times, to see if it's really on the list, because every player has a responsibility to yourself."
Tomas Berdych: "If you are not taking anything, then you don't have to look at the list, right? So if I'm supposed to take any medicine, whatever it is, and it's new and that I haven't taken in the past, the No. 1 thing I'm going to do is check it 10 times, all the different sources, doctors, this, that, everywhere I can, before I start using. And then I will find out what's new with WADA and the list."
Richard Gasquet: "It was a very difficult [to come back from a two-month preliminary suspension for cocaine use in 2009 before being cleared]. Very difficult. Because I couldn't think that I would have something like that in my life. I had more chance to win four Grand Slams in a row. I know it was very difficult to come back from that because you fight a lot. In France, there were a lot of people talking about it, and all the time, you see your name on TV. It took one year for me to take that off my mind."
Garbine Muguruza: "The good thing is she has acknowledged what happened, and she's facing it. I guess that's a good thing she is doing, and we'll see how it goes."