Maria Sharapova has played three tournaments since her return to tennis courts after serving a 15-month doping ban for using Meldonium. The ban came to an end in April and since then, she’s played three tournaments after being handed wildcards in all three. This welcome with open arms has been condemned by some of her fellow players and it could get a whole lot controversial, reckons French Open tournament director Guy Forget.
A decision on her participation in the tournament, which starts on May 28, will be released on May 16 at 10.30 PM IST (1900 GMT). “Some say she shouldn’t get it, others say she served her time,” Forget told BBC Sport. “As you talk with players, it’s very controversial. So no matter what happens, there will be a lot of questions around that wildcard,” he added.
The decision, eventually, will be made by the French Tennis Federation (FFT) with president Bernard Giudicelli previously having said the French Open is “bigger than the players”. The Federation will inform the Russian before the decision is made public.
Forget says the matter has been discussed but he is not aware of the final decision. “We have had a few exchanges in the last few weeks about it,” said Forget. “We have made a decision on all the other wildcards, for Maria it’s a question mark. None of us know in the organisation so we are waiting.”
Sharapova has since her return been handed wildcards to play at Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Madrid Open and the on-going Italian Open in Rome. She failed to accumulate enough points to book a place in French Open qualifying but with her first round win in Rome, has at least assured herself of qualifying rounds at Wimbledon.
Her return to courts and simple passage into the tournaments, usually not afforded to players without a rank, has been condemned by the likes of Eugenie Bouchard, Roberta Vinci and Agnieszka Radwanska.