Maria Sharapova: Wildcard rules could be reviewed says WTA chief

Maria Sharapova
Sharapova was given a two-year ban in March 2016 but her suspension was then reduced in October following an appeal

The rules on wildcards handed to players who have been suspended could be reviewed in the wake of Maria Sharapova's return from a doping ban, says the head of women's tennis.

But WTA chief Steve Simon says it would be unfair to "wipe out a career's worth of work", by changing the rules.

The Russian has been given wildcards to April's Porsche Grand Prix and May's tournaments in Madrid and Rome.

That move has been criticised by current players including Andy Murray.

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Five-time Grand Slam winner Sharapova will return on 26 April without a ranking after serving a 15-month suspension for testing positive for meldonium.

Ex-world number one Caroline Wozniacki said Sharapova's wildcard entry to the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart is "disrespectful" to other players.

The Stuttgart event starts two days before her doping ban ends and she will not be allowed to attend until the day of her match.

"Every rule gets looked at and reviewed, and I'm sure this may be one of them," Simon told BBC Sport's tennis correspondent Russell Fuller. "If the members wish us to look at the rule, we will, that's how our system works.

"My personal opinion is that it shouldn't be adjusted unless we decide to not provide it at all and change the entire wildcard rule. I think the suspension is in place to deal with an action that occurred."

He added: "Maria has served a 15 month suspension, has had no income, has lost all of her ranking as well as her Australian Open winnings from 2016 - so she's served a significant penalty for her actions."


By BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

The reputation of the Grand Slams is linked intrinsically to the integrity of the sport. Will they take the view that once a ban is served, a decorated former champion like Sharapova should be entitled to unlimited invitations to the world's best events? Or will they share the view of Andy Murray and Caroline Wozniacki that, after a doping ban, players should not be offered shortcuts into tournaments?

Read more

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