Two-time French Open champ will not be competing at Roland Garros this year – here’s why
MARIA SHARAPOVA has been denied a wild card entry into the French Open.
That means the two-time champ will not be able to secure a third Roland Garros title this year.
Here is all you need to know about the tournament’s wildcard entry system.
What is the wildcard system?
The French Open committee have the discretion to award wildcards to a number of players who are not ranked highly enough to directly qualify for the tournament.
These players tend to have a particular interest to French tennis audiences or have performed strongly in previous tournaments.
As 2012 and 2014 champion, Sharapova would fit this criteria, but the Russian has only recently returned from a 15-month drugs ban, causing controversy.
The former world number one tested positive for heart disease drug meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.
Why has Maria Sharapova been denied a wild card?
President of the French Tennis Federation Bernard Giudicelli Ferrandini, said: “No-one can deny her the two titles, but according to the rules, we couldn’t give her a wildcard.
“She had committed a violation of the tennis programme and had to be suspended for 15 months. Today this is over, she can take her path.
“But if there can be a wildcard for people returning from injuries, there cannot be a wildcard for players returning from doping.
“I am very sorry for Maria, and for her fans, she might be disappointed, but it is my mission to protect the game and to protect the high standards, and to prevent any doubt on the result.
“That’s the decision.”
Will Maria Sharapova also be denied entry to Wimbledon?
Wild card entry to Wimbledon is for the All England club to decide.
But in any case, Sharapova has risen to 211 in the world after receiving wildcards in Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome.
That ranking has earned her, at a minimum, a place in Wimbledon qualifying.
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