WTA respond to Maria Sharapova's wildcard snub for Roland Garros

WTA CEO Steve Simon said the organisers had 'no ground to penalise' the Russian

BY Cian Roche 12:20 Wednesday 17 May 2017, 12:20 17 May 2017

Image: Andrew Medichini/AP/Press Association Images

WTA CEO Steve Simon says Roland Garros organisers had 'no grounds to penalise' Maria Sharapova by refusing her a wildcard and said he 'did not agree with the bias' toward the Russian.

Sharapova missed out on the Grand Slam event for the second year running as she continues her return from a 15-month drugs ban. Due to her inactivity, the 30-year-old has dropped to number 211 in the world rankings - too low for an automatic entry to the tournament.

Yesterday, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) said it would not be handing the two-time champion a wildcard, claiming "there can be a wildcard for the return from injuries - there cannot be a wildcard for the return from doping."

In a statement today, Simon said he did not agree with the alleged bias against Sharapova.

"I don't agree with the basis for the decision put forward by the FFT. She has complied with the sanction," said WTA chief Steve Simon.

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

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

He added: "Wildcards are offered at the tournaments' sole discretion. I fully support the players that received wildcards and wish them the very best of luck."

The French Open begins on May 28th.

Maria Sharapova retires with a thigh injury during Tuesday's match against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome. Image:  Andrew Medichini/AP/Press Association Images


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