WTA CEO Steve Simon has criticised the French Tennis Federation (FFT) for their decision to not hand a wild card to Maria Sharapova for the French Open. The Russian has not been given a wild card for neither the qualifying or the main draw for the clay court Grand Slam that begins on May 28. The head of the women’s tour has called into question the reasoning behind it while accepting that the decision lies with them.
In a statement, Simon said, “Wildcards are offered at tournaments’ sole discretion. I fully support the players that received wildcards and wish them the very best of luck. It’s going to be a very exciting fortnight at Roland Garros.”
“What I do not agree with is the basis put forward by the FFT for their decision with respect to Maria Sharapova. She has complied with the sanction imposed by CAS.”
“The tennis anti-doping program is a uniform effort supported by the Grand Slams, WTA, ITF, and ATP.”
“There are no grounds for any member of the TADP to penalize any player beyond the sanctions set forth in the final decisions resolving these matters.”
Sharapova’s defeat to Kristina Mladenovic at the Porsche Grand Prix, first tournament back after serving a 15-month doping suspension, meant she was going to rely on the French tennis authorities for a place at Roland Garros – where she’s won two titles in 2012 and 2014. Because of not playing any tennis in over a year, Sharapova didn’t have a rank but was still handed wild cards to feature in the main draw of events in Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome.
However, hours after the decision by FFT on the French Open wild card situation, Sharapova suffered an injury and retired hurt to Mirjana Lucic Baroni which meant she won’t qualify automatically for the Wimbledon main draw either. She had however sealed a spot in the Wimbledon qualifying and could yet be given a wild card by the All England Club authorities when the list is revealed on June 20.