Former woman’s number one Maria Sharapova will not be granted automatic entry into the main tournament for Rolland Garros following her suspension for failing a drugs test.
Sharapova revealed in March of last year that she had failed a drug test she had taken at the 2016 Australian Open after testing positive for meldonium.
The Russian was originally suspended from playing tennis for two years from the sports anti-doping body WADA last summer, however, the two-time French Open winner had her sentence reduced to 15 months last October after a successful appeal.
With Sharapova’s suspension now up, the 30-year-old is set to return to competition this week in Stuttgart, with her eyes firmly set on a Grand Slam return at the French Open at the end of next month.
Although, the French ruling body’s decision to refuse the star automatic entry into the tournament now means that the star’s attendance at the main tournament is far from a certainty.
Sharapova will need to make it to Sunday’s final in Germany at the minimum to guarantee herself a place in the French Open’s preliminary tournament.
However, the Daily Telegraph has reported that the five-time Grand Slam winner has a ‘strong chance’ of gaining a wild card into qualifying even if she falls short in Germany this week.
Sharapova met with the president of the French Tennis Federation Bernard Giudicelli last month, but was unconvinced regarding her compatibility as a main draw wildcard, an opportunity which is usually granted to either a high-level prospect from the home nation or a well-known name returning from injury.
Although, Giudicelli has not ruled the option out: “We will have to reflect on it…[it] is about an important topic like doping.”
The FTF president has promised to have an answer regarding Sharapova’s status in the tournament in the week starting May 15.
However, Sharapova’s invitation into the qualifying event for the Grand Slam would gather more eyes onto the preliminary week and boost the tournament’s profile within the media given the Russian’s celebrity status.
Does Sharapova deserve to receive a wildcard for qualification after failing a drugs test? Have YOUR say in the comments below.