Andy Murray feels that the media coverage surrounding Maria Sharapova’s return from a doping suspension is a major reason for the Russian being offered wildcards to events.
Maria Sharapova has been awarded a wildcard by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) to play at next month’s Aegon Classic in Birmingham.
Presently sitting outside the Top-250 of the WTA Charts at No.258, Sharapova’s ranking is too low to gain a direct entry for the event and the organisers were looking to give her one of the four available wildcards.
Sharapova has played two tournaments through wildcards since her return – losing in the Semi-Finals at last month’s Stuttgart Open and recently falling to Eugenie Bouchard in the second round of the Madrid Open last week.
“I do think the tournaments are going to do what they think is going to sell the most tickets, give them the most coverage, get the most people in to watch,” Murray said.
“I’m sure the LTA saw the coverage that was given, the amount of media covering it, and think that’s what’s best for the tournament in Birmingham. But I’m sure it’s split a lot of opinion.”
“I’m sure the discussions about whether to give it or not were long but they’ve obviously done what they think is right for that event and maybe haven’t thought as much about the wider implications.”
Sharapova’s hopes of featuring in this year’s Wimbledon have taken a hit following her performance in Madrid with her fate to be decided on June 20, when the Wimbledon organizers take a call on whether she deserves a wild card or not.
The Aegon Classic will be held at the Edgbaston Priory Club from June 17-25.