French Open reluctant to give Maria Sharapova a wild card upon return from doping ban – The Russian's world ranking has almost disappeared during her absence.
Maria Sharapova (Getty Images – File Photo)
Newly-elected president of the French Tennis Federation (FFT), Bernard Giudicelli, has indicated that they are reluctant to hand Maria Sharapova a wild card entry for this year's Grand Slam tournament despite the embattled Russian tennis star returning from a doping ban.
Sharapova, who was handed over a 15-month suspension after being tested positive for banned substance meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open, will make her return to competitive tennis at the WTA Tour clay-court tournament in Stuttgart Open beginning on April 26.
However, the French Open chief said the organization has not determined whether to give the Russian player a wild card which she would require as her world ranking has almost disappeared during her absence.
"It's complicated. We prefer that she returns completely rehabilitated. Integrity is one of our strong points. We cannot decide, on the one hand, to increase the amount of funds we dedicate to the anti-doping battle and, on the other, invite her," Sport24 quoted Giudicelli as saying.
Meanwhile, the five-time Grand Slam champion has already been handed wild cards for Madrid (May 7-13) and Rome (May 15-21) tournaments. If the 29-year-old fails to win over Roland Garros organisers, she would have to try her hand in the qualifying tournament which will be held at the Paris venue prior to the main draw.
However, Sharapova need to build up her ranking- which can only be done by clinching the Stuttgart Open title ' in order to hold any chances of making it to the qualifying event. The cut-off for French Open qualifying event will be held just after the Stuttgart tournament.
This year's French Open is slated to be held from May 28 to June 11.