WTA respond to Maria Sharapova's wildcard snub for Roland Garros

According to Reuters, the 30-year-old Russian, who made her comeback last month after serving a suspension following a positive test for heart drug meldonium at last year's Australian Open, had hoped for a favour from the French Tennis Federation (FFT) because her ranking, now 211, does not warrant an automatic place.

After an early exit from the Italian Open, the Russian can now no longer reach the main draw at Wimbledon from ranking, although she could still come through qualifying or yet be handed a wild card by the All England Lawn and Tennis Club on June 20.

"I am very sorry for Maria, and very sorry for her fans".

"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".

In a statement reacting to the FFT's announcement, WTA chief Simon acknowledged that wildcards are offered at a tournaments' sole discretion but said there were no grounds for any member of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme to dish out further punishment after a player has served their suspension.

She is, after all, the owner of a total of five major titles, a former No. 1-ranked player and one of the world's most recognizable athletes.

The 30-year-old Russian was granted wild cards by three clay-court tournaments: in Stuttgart, Germany, in April, followed by Madrid last week, and then Rome, where she quit because of a left thigh injury during a match Tuesday.

The day before the Sharapova decision, Roger Federer also confirmed that he will not play at this year's French Open.

She will compete in the Italian Open this week, using another wild card. The French Open begins May 28.

"While there can be a wild card for return from injury, there can't be a wild card for return from doping", Giudicelli said while announcing his decision on a live Facebook broadcast.

"The French have decided what they want to do", Murray said, "and that's fine with me".

She will however move into the world's top 200 and secure a spot in qualifying for Wimbledon. Sharapova had been taking meldonium for many years, but overlooked announcements by WADA that it added the drug to its banned list on January 1, 2016. At the time, WTA CEO Steve Simon told German broadcaster ZDF she had paid the price. "It's not down to me to question that decision and, I repeat, we must respect decisions that were taken". However, last week she lost in the second round to Eugenie Bouchard, and yesterday she was forced to retire in the deciding set of her second-round match in Rome, at a break up, against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

"I read the results of several polls and I could see that about two-thirds were in favor of Maria being granted a wild card".

She had taken it for medical reasons for most of her career.

"Must be tough for her, but it's the way it is", Novak Djokovic said in Rome about the French Open ruling.

  • Julie Sanders