Sharapova faces French Open deadline

Published by tennismash

Maria Sharapova, seen here in her last appearance at Roland Garros in 2015; Getty Images
Maria Sharapova will find out whether she can compete at Roland Garros just a week before the tournament kicks off in Paris.

Maria Sharapova will learn on 15 May whether she can compete as a wildcard at Roland Garros this year.

According to Spanish news agency EFE, French Tennis Federation (FFT) president Bernard Giudicelli has earmarked that date as the deadline for the decision on whether or not Sharapova will receive a wildcard into the year’s second Grand Slam event.

Sharapova next week will complete her 15-month doping suspension and will return in Stuttgart – where she is a three-time champion – as a wildcard.

She has also been awarded wildcard entries into the prestigious claycourt tune-ups in Madrid and Rome.

Only after contesting the Rome event will Sharapova have a ranking – players are required to have at least three tournament appearances under their belt before they qualify for a WTA ranking.

Sharapova’s unranked status until that time means she misses the entry cut-off (based on rankings) for both the qualifying and main draws at Roland Garros.

To contest the tournament – which she won in 2012 and 2014 – she will be forced to rely on the generosity of tournament organisers.

In June 2016, Sharapova was banned for two years by the International Tennis Federation following a positive test for meldonium, conducted shortly after she lost in the Australian Open 2016 quarterfinals.

This ban was later reduced to 15 months on appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

In early March 2017, Giudicelli told French publication L’Equipe that he did not envisage the FFT would offer Sharapova a Roland Garros wildcard, but that the decision was yet to be made.

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