Maria’s wild­card re­turn not an is­sue, says Chris

New Straits Times - - Sport -

and serv­ing a 15-month ban, can play in the big events and she has ac­cepted in­vi­ta­tions to tour­na­ments in Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome in the next two months.

“You can’t blame the tour­na­ments re­ally for want­ing to be suc­cess­ful and want­ing to en­hance their tour­na­ment by hav­ing a big draw like Maria Shara­pova,” Chris said on a con­fer­ence call from In­dian Wells, where she is a tele­vi­sion com- men­ta­tor for ESPN at the BNP Paribas Open.

“She is do­ing ev­ery­thing within the rules and she (will have) ful­filled her obli­ga­tion of 15 months so I am not crit­i­cal of that de­ci­sion that the tour­na­ment made what­so­ever.”

Maria was among the top 10 play­ers in the world when she tested pos­i­tive for the banned sub­stance mel­do­nium at last year’s Aus­tralian Open.

The 29-year-old Rus­sian’s twoyear ban by the In­ter­na­tional Ten­nis Fed­er­a­tion was later re­duced to 15 months by the Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport.

Maria said this year that she would re­turn to com­pe­ti­tion at the Stuttgart Grand Prix, the main draw for which starts on April 24, the penul­ti­mate day of the five-time grand slam cham­pion’s ban.

Men’s World No 1 Andy Mur­ray said he wished play­ers would not get any favours on re­turn­ing from bans re­gard­less of their pop­u­lar­ity while Dane Caro­line Woz­ni­acki called the de­ci­sion to al­low Maria to play “dis­re­spect­ful.”

At the mo­ment, Maria would need a wild­card from the French Ten­nis Fed­er­a­tion to play in the French Open.

Her per­for­mances in Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome could avoid forc­ing the All Eng­land Club into mak­ing the same de­ci­sion re­gard­ing this year’s Wim­ble­don. Reuters

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.