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The French Tennis Federation denied Maria Sharapova a wild card entry for the French Open on Tuesday, citing a need to “protect the game” following Sharapova’s doping scandal.
Federation president Bernard Giudicelli said that although Sharapova has already returned from a 15-month suspension for testing positing for a banned substance, there “cannot be a wild card for players returning from doping.”
“I decided not to give a wild card,” Giudicelli said. “Nobody can deprive her of her two titles here and I’m very sorry for Maria. I’m very sorry for her fans. They might be disappointed. She might be very disappointed.
“She had committed a violation of the tennis program and had to be suspended for 15 months. Today this is over, she can take her path. But if there can be a wild card for people returning from injuries, there cannot be a wild card for players returning from doping.”
Sharapova returned from her 15-month suspension in April, reaching the semifinals at the Porsche Grand Prix, but only making it to the second round at the Madrid Open. She is currently ranked 211th, thus not being able to reach the French Open without a wild card.
As Deadspin’s Laura Wagner notes, Serena Williams will miss the French Open while pregnant and Roger Federer recently announced he would miss the tournament. Sharapova would have provided a needed dose of star power, but instead, the French Tennis Federation is making a somewhat odd choice to retroactively punish Sharapova.