WTA criticise reasoning for Maria Sharapova's French Open wildcard snub

Maria Sharapova will not compete at the French Open later this month after being denied a wildcard by the French Tennis Federation, but Women's Tennis Association (WTA) chief executive Steve Simon condemned the reasoning for her snub.

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.

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).

However, she was not able to acquire enough ranking points to secure an automatic place in qualifying for the tournament in Paris, with FFT president Bernard Giudicelli hinting that the rejection was due to her recent ban.

He said during a live Facebook broadcast: "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."

However, WTA chief Simon insists the FFT are not in a position to hand Sharapova further punishment.

He said in a statement: "Wildcards are offered at tournaments' sole discretion. I fully support the players that received wildcards and wish them the very best of luck. It's going to be a very exciting fortnight at Roland Garros.

"What I do not agree with is the basis put forward by the FFT for their decision with respect to Maria Sharapova. She has complied with the sanction imposed by CAS.

"The tennis anti-doping program is a uniform effort supported by the Grand Slams, WTA, ITF and ATP.

"There are no grounds for any member of the TADP to penalise any player beyond the sanctions set forth in the final decisions resolving these matters."


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