Wildcard doubts for French Open
Maria Sharapova is due to make her comeback to the tour in Stuttgart on April 26 where she had been given a wild card. She will be reliant on such for quite a few months as she builds up her ranking which, following her drug admission last year resulting in a two-year ban reduced to 15 months on appeal has slipped off the scale.
Personally, I don’t even remember Sharapova
She has subsequently been offered wildcards to both Madrid and Rome and everyone expects she will be granted similar deals for the French Open and Wimbledon.
However, that does not seem to be the case. Wimbledon have been reluctant to comment and believe she will have sufficient points to justify her playing the Qualifying event in Roehampton, which if it materialises, will cause a logistical nightmare for officials as there is no admittance fee!
Meanwhile the new President of the French Federation, Bernard Giudicelli, has revealed to LÈEquipe, that providing Sharapova with a wild card, would be against the spirit of the grand slams funding the fight against doping!
Andy Murray has been reported as saying that players who have undergone a ban for doping should be made to play their way back into the game, a view which Giudicelli supports.
So far tournament directors have been swayed by the attractiveness of a Sharapova entry and as a consequence, have been very indulgent when it comes to making the doping bans an effective lesson for cheating.
Interestingly Garbine Muguruza, the reigning French Open champion, recently commented on her imminent return declaring: Players are not interested in it. Personally, I don’t even remember Sharapova. Yes, for the tournaments it is a good news because the media’s attention will be on her, but again, we are not interested in it too much.
There can be no doubt that her return will generate a million columns of copy and she will be delighted at being the centre of attention once again.