Body Language Read of Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova on Doping, Is She Llying? Did She Know.

Body Language Read of the Apology Statement Deception of Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova to make ‘major announcement’ Yes, she is lying.

She takes long confident steps to the lectern (not podium as that is what someone stands on.) Her head comes down slightly and she turns her head and body away from the audience and she does a small self-comforting rock back and forth as she faces the lectern. This combination of spontaneous, unplanned cues shows that initially she wanted to look confident and righteous, but is overcome by the event.  

The unfolding of her notes on the piece of paper looked very staged oddly staged to look offhand as if there was not an entire team of people telling her how to respond to this discovery. But the way she rested her folded hands for a moment and then looked up shyly and talked in a low tone of voice, again looked, at this point, more planned and rehearsed to look humble and contrite. She touches her hair and throws her hair back in a nervous way showing a concern about how she looks to the audience.

When she says, “I received a notice that I had failed a drug test …” her mouth becomes dry and she struggles to say it as she is still shocked. Interesting that when she says, “I did fail the test and I take full responsibility for it”  her volume goes up significantly and she says in clipped way, “I take FULL..” then her volume goes down and she tries to swallow in the words and speeds up the message as she says, “…for responsibility for it.” She wanted to sound like she is taking responsibility but the end of her sentence and her head down not looking at the camera shows she clearly does NOT. It’s not shame, her posture is erect and she merely does not fully own her apology.

As she says, “…given by my doctor, my family doctor.” Look how her left arm is folded and wrapped around her right to form a castle wall of protection from her stomach. This is an absolutely understandable comfort cue.  The wording with the cues is interesting, the doctor gave her the medication. She does not say, her doctor prescribed it or that she took it, but puts the "owness" on him for “giving it to her.” Odd that she never “Googled” it. As she would have seen a few lines down in the description its performance enhancing effects as she said, “it also has a name of meldonium,” she says, “I did not know.” Though the drug she was taking has many side effects and she would have had to be informed of them and she was taking it for 10 years.

Her message choice also seems off when she says, “She was given the medication for health issues that she WAS having in 2006...” as she was still taking the medication 10 years later. When the wording is as odd and as carefully worded that it gives a strong indication of message manipulated to deceive.

She smiles as she says, “I don’t want to end my career this way.” Since this is the first time she gives a true smile and the way her eyes flirt and dance and her head moves as she says it I don’t believe it is a nervous smile… I think she believes she still has a career that she is too big to suffer this loss. This humor and playfulness continues as she says, “I know many of you thought that I would be announcing my retirement.” She actually smiles and tilts her head and flirts again as if she is thinking, “Ha, I fooled you, and I have the upper hand here.” And continues as she makes a joke about the, “fairly ugly carpet.” As a media coach, I was appalled that she chose to be playful and make a rude comment when she has cheated other honest athletes who worked very hard and made sacrifices for their sport.

From her delivery and word choice I think she knew exactly what she was doing and she thinks she will win out over this discovery.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at