Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Maria Sharapova hits back after French Open wildcard snub

Maria Sharapova's racket sponsor Head's chief executive has backed the decision by French Tennis Federation (FFT) to not give her the wildcard for the upcoming French Open.

The Russian, a two-time champion at Roland Garros, was informed that her request for entry into the forthcoming grand slam following her recent return from a drugs ban had been rejected on Tuesday.

Her initial ban had been set at two-years, but following an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), this was reduced to 15-months as they determined Sharapova had not intentionally doped.

"You can get a wild card when you return from injury, but you cannot get a wild card when returning from a doping suspension", FFT president Bernard Giudicelli said.

If Sharapova were to win a grass-court title or two in the build-up to The Championships, for example, Wimbledon might look more favourably on her case.

"If this is what it takes to rise up again then I am in it all the way, everyday", she wrote.

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

Sharapova is guaranteed a qualifying spot at Wimbledon in July after winning her opening match at the ongoing Rome Masters, although she missed a chance at direct entrance into the main draw after a second-round exit Tuesday.

Murray succumbed to the Italian in just over 90 minutes and has major work to do before the start of Roland Garros in less than a fortnight.

'This suspension is over, and she can take her path toward new success.

"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".

Nevertheless, it is a statement that says: if you have committed an offence, you will be punished for it and what's more, you will have to get back in line to make your way back to the top.

"It's not down to me to question that decision and, I repeat, we must respect decisions that were taken".

"The Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP) is a uniform effort supported by the Grand Slams, WTA, ITF and ATP".

WTA CEO Steve Simon released a statement on Wednesday responding to the wild-card announcements for the 2017 French Open.

High profile WTA stars such as Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki, amongst others, have been critical of tournaments handing the Russian wildcards, and them, and several other players who do not believe that Sharapova should have been allowed straight into tournament main draws, are likely to disagree with Simon's comments.

Sharapova stunned the sporting world previous year when she stood up in a Los Angeles hotel to say that she had failed a doping test for meldonium - a drug that she said she had "legally" taken throughout her career to treat medical conditions.

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