In Summary
  • The Russian former world number one was told on Tuesday that despite serving her 15-month ban for doping she would have to miss the second Grand Slam of the season.
  • WTA chief executive Steve Simon took issue with the FFT's hard line stance on the two-time French Open champion in a strongly worded statement.

PARIS

The head of women's tennis on Wednesday attacked the French tennis federation's refusal to grant Maria Sharapova a wildcard for the French Open as "groundless".

The Russian former world number one was told on Tuesday that despite serving her 15-month ban for doping she would have to miss the second Grand Slam of the season.

Announcing the decision, FFT president Bernard Guidicelli said he was sorry for Sharapova but added "it is my responsibility and my mission to respect the high standards of the game to be played without any doping."

WTA chief executive Steve Simon took issue with the FFT's hard line stance on the two-time French Open champion in a strongly worded statement.

Whilst acknowledging that wildcards were granted at a tournament's discretion, Simon said: "What I do not agree with is the basis put forward by the FFT for their decision with respect to Maria Sharapova.

"She has complied with the sanction imposed by CAS (the Court of Arbitration for Sport).

"The tennis anti-doping program (TADP) is a uniform effort supported by the Grand Slams, WTA, ITF and ATP.

"There are no grounds for any member of the TADP to penalise any player beyond the sanctions set forth in the final decisions resolving these matters."

The five-time Grand Slam champion was banned for two years for using meldonium, with the penalty later reduced by CAS, which ruled she was not an intentional doper.

After the ban expired on April 26, the Russian returned to competition at the Stuttgart Open, reaching the semi-finals, and progressed to the last 32 of the Madrid Open, too late to earn herself a qualifying spot for Paris.

She is guaranteed a qualifying spot at Wimbledon in July after winning her opening match at the ongoing Rome Masters, although she missed a chance at direct entrance into the main draw after a second-round exit on Tuesday.

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