Maria Sharapova, who recently returned to pro tennis after a drug-related suspension, will not have the opportunity to even attempt to play in the French Open later this month.
French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli announced that Sharapova would not be granted a wild card to attempt to qualify her way into the tournament, which begins May 28. Sharapova, a two-time French Open winner, recently came off a 15-month suspension for the use of meldonium at the Australian Open in early 2016. The Court of Arbitration for Sport reduced her two-year suspension on the finding that Sharapova’s usage of the drug was unintentional, since it was outlawed only a few weeks before, but still carried the obligation of responsibility.
“While it’s true that the CAS has reduced her sanction, it is still a violation of the tennis antidoping program,” Giudicelli said during a Facebook Live announcement of the wild cards. “CAS reduced her sanction but also recognized that Maria was the only one responsible for her misfortune. It is not for me today to question that decision. I respect and we should respect the decision that was first taken by the International Tennis Federation’s independent tribunal and then considered on appeal by CAS.”
Sharapova has played in three tournaments, but no Grand Slams, since her suspension ended. The burden will now fall to Wimbledon to determine whether it will honor the CAS’s reduced sentence or opt to uphold the original verdict.
Sharapova won two French Opens, in 2012 and 2014, and made the finals in a third, in 2013. She has played in the French Open 13 times, and holds more victories at Roland Garros than any of the other three Grand Slam tournaments.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.