In a stunning move, the French Open not only denied Maria Sharapova request for a main draw wildcard, but also a qualifying spot. That leaves Sharapova out of the French Open, an event she twice won.
French tennis federation president Bernard Giudicelli made the announcement earlier today on Facebook.
“I decided not to give Maria Sharapova a wild card. I’m very sorry for Maria, very sorry for her fans. They might be disappointed, she might be very disappointed,” said Giudicelli. “But it’s my responsibility, it’s my mission to protect the game and protect the high standards of the game.
“While it’s true that the CAS has reduced her sanction, it is still a violation of the tennis antidoping program,” Giudicelli said. “CAS reduced her sanction but also recognized that Maria was the only one responsible for her misfortune. It is not for me today to question that decision. I respect and we should respect the decision that was first taken by the International Tennis Federation’s independent tribunal and then considered on appeal by CAS.
“This suspension is over and she can take her path toward new success,” Giudicelli added. “But while there can be a wild card for return from injury, there can’t be a wild card for return from doping.”
The decision was surely met with a quiet glee in the women’s locker room which was decidedly against Sharapova since her return from a 15-month doping ban. But it remains to be seen if Wimbledon will now be pressured to follow suit. Sharapova had received wildcards from Stuttgart, Madrid and this week Rome.
Before the decision, Sharapova was actually the betting favorite to win the French Open. Now, she can’t even play qualifying because her ranking wasn’t high enough for entry.
Adding injury to insult, Sharapova lost today in Rome falling to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 4-6, 6-3, 2-1 by retirement due to a leg issue.
She’ll now have a month to rest and recover before the Wimbledon where she’s at least in the qualifying based on her Monday ranking.
Without Sharapova (and Serena Williams), the French Open will only have three former champions in the main draw: Svetlana Kuznetsova, Francesca Schiavone and Garbine Muguruza.
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