Monday, 29 May, 2017

Maria Sharapova's defiant response to French Open wildcard decision

Adam Pretty  Bongarts  Getty Images Adam Pretty Bongarts Getty Images
Rita Gibson | 19 May, 2017, 17:40

But the two-time French Open champion was not given an entry to the Roland Garros competition this week, a decision Johan Eliasch, chief executive of tennis racket firm Head, has surprisingly got behind.

'No words, games or actions will ever stop me from reaching my own dreams.

"What also disappoints me is the fact that Wada has not conducted their business properly, that disappoints me more than the fact that Maria is not playing".

"While there can be a wild card for return from injury, there can't be a wild card for return from doping", Giudicelli said.

Whilst acknowledging that wildcards were granted at a tournament's discretion, Simon said: "What I do not agree with is the basis put forward by the FFT for their decision with respect to Maria Sharapova".

With Bernard Giudicelli, the president of the French federation, proclaiming that it was his responsibility to "protect the game", it would take a bold move by the All England Club to come to a different conclusion when it decides on the recipients of the eight wild cards at its disposal for the women's singles.

Sharapova has competed at three events since returning to competitive tennis following her 15-month suspension for testing positive for meldonium, a sanction that was reduced from two years by the Court for Arbitration of Sport (CAS).

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The Florida-based Russian won the last of her five grand slams in Paris three years ago but her chances of adding to that tally in the coming months have been boosted by the absence of a pregnant Serena Williams, who has won their last 18 meetings, including three major finals.

Sharapova can rise above the furore surrounding her return if she accepts the decision to deny her a wild card entry to the French Open without rancor, former world No. 3 Pam Shriver has said.

"I decided not to give Maria Sharapova a wild card".

On Tuesday, Simon said Sharapova had already served her punishment and should not be further sanctioned by the French Open.

She is now ranked No. 211, which is too low for her to qualify for the French Open. The Russian player signed a two-year deal and so will play also in 2018 as a sort of thanking the organizers for the wild card given this year. But nevertheless Roland Garros invests a lot - along with the other Grand Slams, the ATP, and the WTA - into the fight against doping.

She could have saved them that dilemma by reaching the semi-finals in Rome to boost her ranking but withdrew injured from her match with Lucic-Baroni to complete a bad night. To begin with, she has to come to terms with the French Open snub and find a way - psychologically and otherwise - to prepare for what seems to be a long battle ahead.

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