Maria Sharapova earns ticket to Wimbledon qualifying event

Maria Sharapova ensured that she will compete at Wimbledon this summer with a first-round victory at the Italian Open yesterday.

Christina Mchale of the United States returns the ball to Maria Sharapova of Russian Federation during the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Monday, May 15, 2017.

Sharapova mentioned in her post-match media conference about her chances to make a Wimbledon return. I read articles 100 and 101 which reduced her sanction, however we agreed with the independent tribunal that she committed a violation and had to be suspended for 15 months.

The 30-year-old has just returned from a 15-month doping ban and required a wildcard to play in the Eternal City, but she took full advantage to down the 24-year-old American. "I will be focused on my match", Sharapova said, adding that she would accept a qualifying wildcard.

She won both of her previous matches against Lucic-Baroni, a semifinalist at this year's Australian Open.

Former player Guy Forget, now the French Open tournament director, has been canvassing opinion from within the sport as to what the reaction would be should Sharapova receive a wildcard.

"While there can be a wild card for return from injury, there can't be a wild card for return from doping", Giudicelli said. She has complied with the sanction imposed by CAS.

"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 did not comment on Tuesday's announcement.

Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva was another to go through as she knocked out Puerto Rico's Olympic gold medallist Monica Puig 6-2, 7-5.

It completed a miserable evening for the five-times grand slam champion, now ranked 211, who earlier found out that she had been refused a wildcard for the French Open.

As a Grand Slam event, the French Open is perhaps less in need of extra publicity than a regular tour event. Maybe they should give a wild card to Lance Armstrong, too? "We did not want to treat Maria Sharapova differently".

The French authorities, like Wimbledon, are increasing their spend on anti-doping and felt that assisting her would send out the wrong mixed messages.

"I don't think a suspension should wipe out the career's worth of work, " he said.

"Nobody can deprive her of her two titles here in Roland Garros, but these two titles she had conquered them according to the rules and behold nothing to anyone".

It had been expected that the FFT would hand Sharapova, who won the 2012 and 2014 titles on the Parisian clay, at least a wildcard into the qualifying tournament.

The 5-time grand slam victor was banned for 2 years for using meldonium, but the penalty was reduced to 15 months on appeal by the Court of Arbitration for Sport which ruled she was not an intentional doper.

Giudicelli noted there were also strong calls for Sharapova to be offered a place at Roland Garros, but stressed it was "inconceivable to take a decision" against the anti-doping efforts of tournaments and governing bodies. "So if that's where it got me today, then I will take it".

Former world number one Martina Navratilova, however, said Sharapova should now be allowed to get on with her tennis and, as a twice former champion in Paris, could justifiably be given a wild card into the main draw.

Sharapova was recently eliminated by Canadian Eugenie Bouchard from the second round of the 2017 Madrid Open.

She was given wild cards at Stuttgart and Madrid before the Italian Open this week. She was a past champion at all three.

Lucic-Baroni had a tough first round encounter with 2015 French Open finalist Lucie Safarova. "I'm not going to say those things because then I'm going to get in trouble", she said.

  • Julie Sanders