No French Open wildcard for Sharapova

Maria Sharapova will not make her grand slam return at the French Open after the five-time major champion missed out on a wildcard.

French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli on Tuesday announced that Sharapova has not been invited to play at Roland Garros.

The two-time French Open champion returned to the WTA Tour last month after serving a 15-month suspension for testing positive for the banned substance meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.

However, Giudicelli explained that Sharapova could not be granted a wildcard for the second major of the year in Paris, which starts on May 28.

“There can be a wildcard for return from injuries; there cannot be a wildcard for return from doping. She might be very disappointed, but it’s my responsibility to protect the game, a game played without any doubts of results,” Guidicelli said in an announcement broadcast live on Facebook.

There has been much criticism of perceived preferential treatment the former world number one has received since returning from her ban.

Sharapova was granted wildcards for the Stuttgart Open and the Madrid Open, where she was beaten by one of her most vocal critics, Eugenie Bouchard.

On Monday she progressed to the second round of another tournament that offered her the chance to compete, the five-time grand slam champion defeating Christina McHale at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

That victory ensured she will be eligible for the Wimbledon qualifiers, with a top-200 ranking guaranteed. Should the Russian reach the semi-finals in Rome she looks set to earn a place in the main draw at the All England Club.

But the 30-year-old was not ranked high enough to gain a place in the qualifiers in Paris at the cut-off point after losing to Kristina Mladenovic at the semi-final stage on her comeback in Stuttgart.

The announcement that she has been overlooked for the showpiece in the French capital came less than an hour before she was due to face Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in the second round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

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