Most of the time, Andy Murray confines himself to what takes place inside the lines, usually in the form of thoughtful analysis of his matches. This week he stepped beyond, addressing Maria Sharapova’s return from her anti-doping suspension.
Having now lost all her ranking points, Sharapova is reliant on wild cards to enter WTA events. Naturally, she’s received plenty, handed a trio that get her straight into claycourt events this April and May in Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome.
“I think you should really have to work your way back,” Murray said in The Times. Long a harsh critic of doping offenders, Murray is also well aware of tennis’ business realities, noting that, “The majority of tournaments are going to do what they think is best for their event. If they think having big names there is going to sell more seats, then they’re going to do that. She has an opportunity to try to improve her ranking and potentially not need a wild card (for Wimbledon).”
Meanwhile, French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli expressed ambivalence towards issuing Sharapova a wild card into Roland Garros. “It’s going to be complicated,” he said in a Tennis.com piece, citing the sport’s investment in anti-doping measures.
While Sharapova has won all five of the events cited is a potential rationale for her being granted the wild cards, there’s a bigger point to be made: Do the crime, do the time. Sharapova has done precisely that. She was caught, went through the sport’s justice system, served her sentence and has now earned the right to compete yet again --- and along with that, should be given wild cards to any tournament that wishes to grant them to her.