A CHEEKY street artist has turned up in up-market Wimbledon with in a hilarious picture based on a famous saucy poster and drugs in the sport.
Maria Sharapova is missing this year’s tournament through injury after returning from a 15-month ban after she was caught using stimulant meldonium.
But controversial street artist Fussy Human has made sure the Russian’s shame is not forgotten with a stencil portrait based on the famous Athena tennis poster.
The picture appeared late on Sunday evening on the short walk between Southfields tube station to the SW19 grounds – a journey made by the majority of the 40,000 fans who visit Wimbledon daily.
The 1977 image of a model hitching her outfit to reveal her behind is one of the most legendary pictures of the 20th century.
But Fussy Human as used it to make his point over doping in sport, with the female player injecting herself in a life-sized image titled Tennis Girl.
Sharapova’s two-year doping ban was reduced to 15 months following her appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The five-time Grand Slam winner, 29, was initially banned by the International Tennis Federation for two years after testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.
Meldonium, a heart disease drug also known as mildronate, became a banned substance on 1 January 2016.
Sharapova said she had been taking the drug since 2006 for health problems and had “not tried to use a performance-enhancing substance”.
She said she was unaware the drug had been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (Wada) banned list and could not “accept” the “unfairly harsh” ban.
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The Cas panel said it found Sharapova’s case “was not about an athlete who cheated”, adding she was not an “intentional doper”.
Sharapova’s fitness concerns spared Wimbledon organisers the dilemma of whether to hand the former champion a wild card to play this year.
The Russian has lost her world ranking to qualify automatically and would have had to go through qualifying if she wanted to play – unless she was given a wild card.
Tournament chiefs at the French Open in Paris made their feelings clear when they refused her a wild card, though Wimbledon had not made any decision before she pulled out last month.
It is not the first time London-based artist Fussy Human has courted controversy, after another of his images mocking the relationship of pop star Taylor Swift and actor Tom Hiddleston caught worldwide attention.