Decision on Sharapova's French Open wild card set for May 16
ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 26, 2017 07:20 PM
Maria Sharapova signs autographs at a sports conference as she nears the end of her 15-month doping suspension in Rancho Mirage, Calif., on Tuesday, March 28, 2017. The former No. 1 player plans to return to tennis next month at a tournament in Germany. (AP Photo/Greg Beacham)
SAMUEL PETREQUIN, AP Sports Writer
PARIS (AP) — Maria Sharapova will find out next month if she can compete at the French Open.
French tennis federation president Bernard Giudicelli said Wednesday that the announcement will be made on Facebook on May 16 at 7 p.m. local time.
"The only guarantee I gave her is to call her beforehand," Guidicelli said without giving any indication on whether Sharapova will get a positive answer. "There is no reason why we should make an exception for Maria Sharapova, there is no reason why we should announce a wild card before the others."
The five-time Grand Slam champion and former No. 1 is returning to competition this week as a wild-card entry at the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany.
Sharapova was suspended after testing positive for the banned substance meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open. The ban was reduced from two years to 15 months last October by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Meldonium, which was previously legal, was banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency earlier that year, but Sharapova claims she missed the memo instructing her to stop using it.
Sharapova, who has titles at all four majors, won at Roland Garros in 2012 and 2014.
Top-ranked players Angelique Kerber and Andy Murray are among those who have questioned whether Sharapova should be allowed to resume her career in main draws without playing her way back through qualifiers. Sharapova has also been handed a wild-card entry into the Italian Open in Rome next month.
Giudicelli said the federation's decision would not be linked to Serena Wililams' withdrawal from the tournament.
"Serena is on maternity leave and Serena's situation is completely different," he said. "We are dealing with these issues separately."
As for the men's draw, tournament director Guy Forget said he had not received more information regarding Roger Federer's participation. The former No. 1 is currently on a break from the tour, skipping most of the clay-court season.
"I have not received any information suggesting that he would take Roland Garros off his schedule," Forget said. "Behind (Rafael) Nadal, he is the best clay-court player. He is capable of settling in very quickly."