Maria Sharapova: Stuttgart opponent Roberta Vinci questions wildcard

Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki said last month the wild cards were "disrespectful" to other players while Agnieszka Radwanska suggested Sharapova should not be invited to grand slams.

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File). Yuri took odd jobs like dish-washing to finance his daughter's dreams although visa restrictions meant mother Yelena was back in Russian Federation, separated from her daughter for two years. Maria Sharapova will find out the week star.

Sharapova was the richest sportswoman in the world before her ban.

Indeed, rules mean that she is not even allowed into the venue where the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix is being held, and she is not on its promotional posters. I can't wait to meet you.

When it comes to Wimbledon qualifying, the cut-off is four weeks before the event starts, so she could add an extra tournament in the week before Roland Garros if she was close to the 260 points or so needed.

The Russian superstar returns to competitive action after serving a 15-month-suspension for taking taking a banned substance, meldonium, at last year's Australian Open.

Against the 36th-ranked Italian, Sharapova had a shaky start, conceding seven of the first eight points and dropping the opening two games within five minutes. From then on, Vinci has only reached one quarter-final in St. Petersburg where she failed to defend her title and instead lost to the eventual champion.

"This kind of entry into the tournament should be available only for players who were dropped in the ranking due to injury, illness or other random accident", Radwanksa said.

So while Sharapova might get a lukewarm welcome in the locker room there is no question the money men will welcome her back with open arms, not least Porsche.

Will the 30-year-old still have the same hunger to succeed that has underscored her feats to this point, such as achieving the career Grand Slam?

The ban was subsequently reduced to 15 months last October after the former world number one's appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was upheld.

Sharapova had been taking meldonium for many years, but overlooked an announcement by the World Anti-Doping Agency that it added the drug to its banned list on January 1, 2016.

She may have been unlucky in love, but Sharapova hit the jackpot in her commercial affairs.

Maria Sharapova may have to win three matches as a wild card to be a part of the 2017 French Open field.

Several players, including Vinci, have criticized the invitation for a player who has been caught doping. However, Sharapova would only be able to enter the tournament site on Wednesday and is not able to practice on the courts there only until that day.

Such is the interest in her return, more than 200 journalists from all the world have asked the Stuttgart event for a media credential. Just because, Maria Sharapova would be playing her first match in 15 months after coming back from her drug suspension as she received a controversial wildcard into the tournament.

  • Joanne Flowers