Reigning world number one Andy Murray believes tournament wildcards should not be given to players who are making comebacks after doping suspensions. The Brit made the statement in the context of Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova who will be returning to the pro circuit after completing her 15-month doping ban in April this year. Sharapova was tested positive for a banned substance ‘Meldonium’ at the 2016 Australian Open.
Murray who is currently playing in Dubai told the Times, "I think you should really have to work your way back.”
"But most tournaments will do what they think is best for their event. If they think big names will sell more seats, they're going to do that. She (Sharapova) has an opportunity to try to improve her ranking up until that point and potentially not need a wildcard"
Followed by a Pecan Pie…???? pic.twitter.com/NlSZh5uY29
— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) February 20, 2017
The two-time Wimbledon champion further added, “But then if she [isn’t successful], that becomes Wimbledon’s decision and how they want to play that. I’m sure they’ll think long and hard about it and how they feel people will view it and then make the right decision for them.”
The five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova has been given wildcards for tournaments in Stuttgart, Madrid, and Rome. Her ban will expire on 26th April, post which Stuttgart Open will be her first tournament on the WTA circuit.
On the other side, Maria expressed her happiness over her return said, “I could not be happier to have my first match back on tour at one of my favourite tournaments. I can’t wait to see all my great fans and to be back doing what I love,” as quoted by BBC.
Recently, the Russian tennis ace has also received an offer for a wildcard spot for the Internazionali BNL D’Italia competition in Rome. By performing well in these WTA events, Sharapova has a chance to improve her rankings and earn automatic selection on basis of her performance in the All England Club Championship in June later this year.