Thursday 21 September 2017

Maria Sharapova will NOT be handed a wild card entry to the French Open at Roland Garros

Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Maria Sharapova has not been handed a wild card into this year's French Open, tournament organisers have announced on Facebook.

The 30-year-old former world number one has competed at three events since returning to competitive tennis following her 15-month doping suspension.

Sharapova tested positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open and her original two-year ban was reduced on appeal.

However, the Russian was not able to acquire enough ranking points to secure an automatic place in qualifying for Roland Garros.

French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli confirmed on Tuesday evening there would be no invitation for the two-time champion when announcing the wildcards for the 2017 tournament during a live Facebook broadcast.

Giudicelli is understood to have spoken to Sharapova ahead of his decision, with the Russian currently playing at the Italian Open in Rome, where she is set to face Croatia's Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

The FTF president said on Facebook: "I just wanted to tell you that I decided not to give to Maria Sharapova a wild card, a wild card she asked me for.

"Nobody can deprive her of her two titles here in Roland Garros, but these two titles she had conquered them according to the rules and behold nothing to anyone."

Ferrandini then spoke about how the Court of Arbitration for Sport "reduced her sanction, but agreed with the independent panel she had committed a violation of the anti-doping tennis programme and she had to be suspended for 15 months".

He continued: "Today this suspension is over and she can take her path towards the new success, but if there can be a wild card for return from injuries then there cannot be a wild card for return from doping.

"So it is up to her, day after day, tournament after tournament, to find alone the strength to conquer major titles without being held to anybody.

"I'm very sorry for Maria, very sorry for her fans. They might be very disappointed and she might be very disappointed, but it is my responsibility and my mission to protect the game and protect high standards of the game played without any 'doping' on the result, so that is our decision."

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