Russia’s tennis player Maria Sharapova hits a return to US tennis player Christina McHale during the ATP Tennis Open tournament in Rome at the Foro Italico, on May 15, 2017. ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP
Two-time champion Maria Sharapova will not play at Roland Garros this year after the French tennis federation denied her a wild card, FFT president Bernard Guidicelli said on Tuesday.
The former world number one, who only returned from a 15-month doping ban last month, will miss the French Open, which she won in 2012 and 2014, for the second year in a row.
“Nobody can deprive her of her two titles at Roland Garros, but today I can’t grant her the wild card requested,” Guidicelli said on Facebook Live.
“The titles won here, she won within the rules without owing anything to anyone.
“While wild cards exist for players returning from injury, there is nothing for a return from a doping ban,” he added.
The five-time Grand Slam champion was banned for two years for using meldonium, with the penalty later reduced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport which ruled she was not an intentional doper.
After the ban expired on April 26, the Russian returned to competition at the Stuttgart Open, reaching the semi-finals, and progressed to the last 32 of the Madrid Open, too late to earn herself a qualifying spot for Paris.
“I am very sorry for Maria, and very sorry for her fans. They might be very disappointed and she might be disappointed. But it is my responsibility and my mission to respect the high standards of the game to be played without any doping,” said Guidicelli.