Sharapova denied wild card for French Open

The Associated Press

PARIS — Two-time French Open champion Maria Sharapova has missed out on a wild-card entry for this year’s tournament because of a doping ban that she finished serving last month.

“I’m very sorry for Maria, very sorry for her fans. They might be disappointed; she might be very disappointed,” French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli said Tuesday in a live broadcast via Facebook. “But it’s my responsibility, it’s my mission, to protect the game and protect the high standards of the game.”

Giudicelli said he personally told Sharapova of his ruling during a phone call on Tuesday. The French Open begins May 28.

“While there can be a wild card for return from injury, there can’t be a wild card for return from doping,” Giudicelli said.

Three events, including the Italian Open this week, have given Sharapova wild cards since her suspension ended.

Sharapova did not comment on the announcement. She skipped a news conference after pulling out of a match in Rome on Tuesday with a thigh injury.

The owner of a career Grand Slam and five major titles overall, and a former No. 1-ranked player, Sharapova returned to the WTA Tour last month after testing positive for the newly banned heart drug meldonium at the Australian Open in 2016.

She is now ranked 211th, not good enough to make the cut even for the qualifying field at Roland Garros.

Steve Simon, the CEO of the WTA, said he disagreed with the French federation’s reasoning.

“She has complied with the sanction imposed,” Simon said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press. “There are no grounds for any member of the (tennis anti-doping program) to penalize any player beyond the sanctions set forth in the final decision resolving these matters.”