Should Maria Sharapova Be Allowed To Get Wildcards?

by Sean Randall | March 14th, 2017, 2:43 pm

A hot topic this last week in tennis has been tournaments giving Maria Sharapova wildcards into their events.

Of course her sponsor and Stuttgart was the first to do it, and since Rome and Madrid have followed suit, granting the megastar entry into their events without ranking. Now the French Open and Wimbledon are debating the matter, and my guess is both will give welcome her back.

However, some players like Andy Murray don’t like that she can return to the sport and virtually pick right up where she left off. No need to play the lower tier events or qualifying or really no ranking penalty other than seeding.

But bottom line here is, she did the crime, she did the time. End of story. Once the ban ends she should again become just like any other player, and that means receiving wildcards.

Criminals who get out of jail are allowed to work — there’s no law against it — so why can’t a tennis player?

Yes, the “optics” don’t look great, but those are the rules as they stand. And since Sharapova’s a former Grand Slam champ, she’s entitled to unlimited wildcards. So in theory, she could keep playing events for years without having to worry at all about her ranking being too low to get into draws.

That said, if the WTA wants to make high profile dopers like Sharapova feel the pinch a little more, then remove the “unlimited” clause for life for players who are found to be cheating. If you are guilty, you lose that reward or the chance to have that reward. But I doubt the WTA would take that step because they and the tournaments know Sharapova = $$$.

So while I can understand the players taking offense, Maria did serve her suspension. And given the sad state of the WTA right, the women’s tour needs Sharapova back more than ever. Though I do wonder if tournaments still have to pay Sharapova her six-figure appearance just to show up IN ADDITION to having to give her the wildcard. She should really be paying them!

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7 Comments for Should Maria Sharapova Be Allowed To Get Wildcards?

Wog Boy Says:

Sean is sexist, that’s it, he finally came out of the closet.

Kimberly Says:

the public would like to see Sharapova play. To be honest, of course the tournaments are doing it for money but they are also doing viewers that want to watch Sharapova a favor. The players that are complaining are probably the ones scared of having to play her early. Although who knows what she will play like after almost 2 years.

BBB Says:

I don’t think there’s “a public,” so it’s difficult to say what “the public” wants to see.

I think some players actually believe this is unfair. Not everyone is a conspiracy theorist.

Van Persie Says:

Agree with Kimberly.

To add: Sharapova will have now increased audience. Many of her haters will also watch, with Motto: “The doper” is back. She will be a sensation.

MMT Says:

The entirety of the ban was stupid to begin with – 15 months for an honest mistake makes no sense. Add to that the absurdity of “earning” a wildcard (which is paradoxical – the whole purpose of a wildcard is to give direct entry to someone who hasn’t “earned” it), and this begins to sound like a push for an extra-adjudicated punishment.

JGR Says:

I feel she has gotten off already with her suspension having been reduced. I feel strongly that she knew exactly which drugs she was taking. It was no mistake.
To be allowed to play the wildcard is totally unfair.

Please remember readers that everyone is entitled to their opinion!!

Czarlazar Says:

The suspension was ridiculously long for a sloppy mistake of using a substance that was legal until very recently. And probably politically motivated because Maria’s Russian. That said, this whole debate is pointless. Tennis is a business, and unless the moralists want to nationalize the tour under government direction, these tournaments can do whatever the hell they feel is appropriate for their businesses. If opposing players don’t like that, they’re welcome to not play, and offended fans can stay home with the TV off. The end.

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