Moscow: French Open organisers don’t rule out handing Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova a wild card to participate in the Grand Slam event next year.
“The list of wild cards is decided 15 days before the tournament; we have time to think about it,” the tournament’s press service said on Wednesday, reports Tass.
Sharapova has been serving a two-year suspension for the violation of anti-doping regulations since January 26. However, the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled on Tuesday to reduce Sharapova’s suspension term from 24 to 15 months.
The Russian player is now eligible to officially return to tennis courts starting April 26 next year. The nearest Grand Slam tournament is the 2017 French Open, scheduled for May 22-June 11.
The Russian won’t have time to earn enough tournament points to join the tennis competition in France. Therefore, the wild card is her only chance to play at the French Grand Slam event.
Alexei Selivanenko, Vice President of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF), said on Wednesday Sharapova was likely to receive a wild card for the French Open.
“Sharapova will be resuming the tournament with zero rating,” Selivanenko said.
“It is obvious that before the beginning of the tournament she will be unable to gain enough points to earn the berth.”
“However, the organisers of the tournament are most likely to grant a wild card to such tennis player (as Sharapova),” Selivanenko added.
In early March, Sharapova was first to announce that her doping tests revealed the presence of performance enhancing drug Meldonium in her body system.
Following the announcement, the former World No.1 was provisionally suspended from all tennis-related activities.
Sharapova filed an appeal on June 9 with the CAS against her two-year suspension, which was officially announced on June 8 by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Tribunal over anti-doping violations.
Due to the ban Sharapova, the silver Olympic medallist of the 2012 Games in London, had to miss the 2016 Rio Games held in August.