Maria Sharapova, who is set to make a comeback after 15 months of ban, faces a set back as Fédération Française de Tennis (FFT) organisers have refused to give her a direct entry into the main draw. Former World No. 1 Sharapova has not been handed a wildcard into the French Open main draw but is going to be handed a wildcard for the qualifying rounds, according to an exclusive by The Telegraph.
Bernard Giudicelli, President of the French Tennis Federation, is not completely convinced about handing her the wildcard, which is generally given to either emerging home talents or to popular players who are looking to make a return after an injury. Giudicelli, who is expected to declare the decision on the wildcard on May 15 told The Telegraph, “We will have to reflect on it … [it] is about an important topic like doping.”
The 30-year-old, who is preparing for her first game after the ban in Stuttgart, however has a strong chance of making it to the Roland Garros, even if she does not reach the Stuttgart final.
The popular Russian player’s wild card entry sparked debates across the tennis fraternity. The All England Club will also be taking the decision on her taking a place in the Wimbledon. She can however earn a place in the Wimbledon main draw by gathering 600-odd ranking points four weeks from now at the end of Internazionali BNL D’Italia.
Sharapova ends her doping ban this week as she prepares to play against Roberta Vinci of Italy on Wednesday for a first-round match in Stuttgart at the Porsche Grand Prix. Vinci feels that Sharapova must return without any wild cards or help.
“I don’t agree about the wild card here and about the wild card in Rome and the other tournaments, I think she is a great player, person. She made her mistakes, for sure, but she paid and she can return to play but without any wild cards, any help, but just to play.”