Tuesday, May 16, 2017|1:41 p.m.
PARIS– For Bernard Giudicelli, the battle versus doping was more vital than Maria Sharapova’s appeal.
So he chose not to award her a wild card for the French Open.
Giudicelli, the president of the French Tennis Federation, telephoned two-time champ Sharapova on Tuesday to tell her she would not get an invite to play due to the fact that of her previous doping restriction.
Three other competitions, including the Italian Open today, have given her wild cards considering that her return from a 15-month ban last month, but Giudicelli wasn’t swayed.
“While there can be a wild card for return from injury, there cannot be a wild card for return from doping,” Giudicelli stated while announcing his choice on a live Facebook broadcast.
He accepted a lot of fans wanted to see her play, however he would not grant special favors.
“I check out the results of several polls and I might see that about two-thirds favored Maria being given a wild card. Obviously I felt some pressure,” he said. “We did not wish to treat Maria Sharapova in a different way … Maria won two times here, but we have a big obligation.”
He felt that offering Sharapova a route into the primary draw was to send out the incorrect message in the fight against doping in sports.
“She may be extremely disappointed, but it’s my duty, it’s my mission to safeguard the game and secure the high requirements of the video game,” he said.
“I understand that a lot of individuals may be disappointed by this decision. But however Roland Garros invests a lot– in addition to the other Grand Slams, the ATP, and the WTA– into the battle versus doping. It was unthinkable to take a choice that would have been the opposite of this.
“I know the media dimension Maria has. I know the expectation fans and broadcasters have. However it didn’t appear possible for me to go above the strong commitment and the respect for the anti-doping code.”
Sharapova, who has titles at all four majors, won at Roland Garros in 2012 and 2014.
Thanks to wild cards at her first two competitions, she lifted her world ranking to outside the top 200 today. However that wasn’t good enough to make the cut even for the qualifying field at Roland Garros, so she will miss the tournament for a second straight year.
The French Open starts on May 28.
Sharapova initially was provided a two-year suspension after evaluating positive for the banned heart drug meldonium at last year’s Australian Open.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport reduced the restriction on appeal, ruling she bore “less than substantial fault” in the case and she might not “be considered to be a deliberate doper.” Sharapova had been taking meldonium for several years, however neglected announcements by WADA that it added the drug to its prohibited list on Jan. 1, 2016.
“The Court of Arbitration decreased her suspension but likewise recognized that Maria was the sole individual accountable for her misery,” Giudicelli stated. “It’s not down to me to question that decision and, I duplicate, we need to appreciate decisions that were taken.”
Top-ranked players Angelique Kerber and Andy Murray spoke out against Sharapova receiving wild cards, while Eugenie Bouchard openly called her a “cheater” who need to be prohibited for life.
Lots of gamers thought Sharapova ought to have had to begin in bottom-rung tournaments to enhance her ranking, instead of get free passes into events on the primary tour.
She was provided wild cards at Stuttgart and Madrid prior to the Italian Open today. She was a past champ at all three.
In Stuttgart, WTA CEO Steve Simon informed German broadcaster ZDF she had actually paid the cost.
“I don’t believe a suspension needs to erase the career’s worth of work,” Simon said.