WTA CEO Steve Simon has criticised the French Tennis Federation (FFT) for their decision not to award a French Open wildcard to Maria Sharapova. In an extraordinary intervention, Simon accepted that the FFT is entitled to their decision, but questioned the reasoning behind it:
“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 penalize any player beyond the sanctions set forth in the final decisions resolving these matters.”
Sharapova’s defeat to Mladenovic in the semifinals of Stuttgart (her first tournament back) meant that the Russian, currently ranked 211 in the world, was reliant on a wildcard from French Open organisers. She was informed late on Tuesday that she would not receive one.
Following her retirement in the second round of the Italian Open, Sharapova can no longer qualify for automatic entry to Wimbledon main draw. She does, however, have enough rankings points to enter Wimbledon qualifiers.
Both the French Open and Wimbledon are International Tennis Federation (ITF) run events. As such, the WTA has no sway on who should – or should not – be given wildcards.
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