Yesterday, we addressed the Teflon-like qualities of Roger Federer: Whatever action he took regarding Roland Garros would easily roll away and slide into the category of acceptability.
Today, the Velcro of Maria Sharapova and Roland Garros – a case where whatever action was taken would stick to her and generate controversy. Word came yesterday that Sharapova would not be allowed to compete at this year’s French Open – no wild card into the main draw, no wild card even into the qualifying.
My belief all along has been that Sharapova should be given main draw wild cards to as many events as possible. The rationale was simple: do the crime, do the time. That she did, a 15-month suspension from competition for taking a banned drug for a 26-day period in 2016. End of story.
But, alas, many of Sharapova’s peers have criticized her desire to be given these wild cards. Is this because Sharapova and a great many WTA players are hardly friends? Why should that even matter in shaping her fate?
French Tennis Federeration (FFT) President Bernard Giudicelli: “There can be a wildcard for the return from injuries – there cannot be a wildcard for the return from doping.”
But there will a wildcard for the return from gambling. A qualifying wildcard was awarded to Constant Lestienne, a French player who last fall was banned for seven months for betting on matches.
Like Lestienne, Sharapova has paid her debt. Might it also matter that she has won the French Open twice? Perhaps not, which is fine. But surely, Sharapova should have been granted at least a wild card into the qualifying and given the chance to compete. Once again, another example of disparate tennis fiefdoms taking matters into their own hands rather than providing fans with the best possible product.
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