WTA criticise reasoning for Maria Sharapova's French Open wildcard snub


The former world number one returned to tennis last month - Sharapova reached the Stuttgart Open semifinals - but the only way she could have got into the French Open, which starts on May 28, was through a wildcard.

Sharapova, 30, came from a 15-months doping suspension last month and does not have enough ranking points to enter the main draw or the qualifying event of the tournament.

FFT president Bernard Giudicelli made the announcement on Tuesday, saying: "There can be a wildcard for return from injuries; there cannot be a wildcard for return from doping".

The five-time Grand Slam champion was banned for two years for using meldonium, with the penalty later reduced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport which ruled she was not an intentional doper.

"Wildcards are offered at tournaments' sole discretion", WTA CEO Steve Simon said. "I will miss the French fans, who have always been so supportive and I look forward to seeing them at Roland Garros next year". "It's going to be a very exciting fortnight at Roland Garros", he added.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport reduced the ban on appeal, ruling she bore “less than significant fault” in the case and she could not “be considered to be an intentional doper.” 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. "There are no grounds for any member of the TADP (Tennis Anti-Doping Programme) to penalize any player beyond the sanctions set forth in the final decisions resolving these matters".

Sharapova announced past year that she was tested positive for heart drug meld onium at the Australian Open, which is one of the banned drugs by WADA.

"I decided not to give Maria Sharapova a wildcard", Giudicelli said, announcing the decision via a Facebook Live broadcast.

Sharapova is also on the verge of losing the spot in Wimbledon as the main draw is on Monday and she needs a minimum semi-final run in the Rome this week if she wants a spot in the main draw. They might be very disappointed and she might be disappointed. However, she had to withdraw from the second-round match against Croatian Mirjana Lucic-Baroni at the Italian Open on Tuesday due to an injury to her left thigh.

"She's smart and savvy", Shriver, who won 21 grand slam women's doubles titles, said on ESPN.

"I know the media dimension Maria has, I know the expectation fans and broadcasters have, but it didn't seem possible for me to go above the strong commitment and the respect for the anti-doping code".

She will now have to wait until June 20 to find out if she will receive a Wimbledon wildcard.

If no wild card is awarded, the 30-year-old would need to negotiate her way through qualifying at Roehampton.