Paris - Former world No 1 tennis player Maria Sharapova
should not be fast-tracked into next month's French Open as she returns from a
doping ban, insists Polish rival Agnieszka Radwanska.
With double French Open champion Sharapova currently
unranked, all eyes will be on the French Tennis Federation (FFT) next month
when it decides whether or not to hand the 30-year-old a wildcard into the
Sharapova makes her comeback to the WTA Tour after 15 months
out in Stuttgart next week, after gaining a wildcard, and has also been given
invites to play in Madrid and Rome.
Roland Garros organisers will be wrestling with the moral
conundrum surrounding a wildcard - or free entry into the French Open - given
that Sharapova is the biggest draw card in women's tennis right now, and
arguably much needed given the absence of Serena Williams who earlier this week
announced her pregnancy.
Regardless, Radwanska believes entry to the year's second
grand slam tournament would be a step too far.
"Now in Germany, next in Spain, but so far she hasn't
been invited to play at slams in Paris and London and in my opinion that's how
it should remain," world No 8 Radwanska told Poland's sports daily
"She should win her place thanks to good results."
Sharapova was originally banned for two years following a
positive test for the newly-banned drug Meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open
but the sanction was reduced to 15 months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport
Last week she criticised the International Tennis Federation
(ITF) for not doing enough to warn her that Meldonium - a product she had used
legally throughout her career to combat health issues - had been added to the
World Anti-Doping Agency's list of banned substances in late 2015.
Sharapova, 30, is likely to receive a lukewarm reception in
Stuttgart next week with several players, including another former world No 1
Caroline Wozniacki, also questioning whether she should have received a
Men's world No 1 Andy Murray has also voiced his disapproval
about the return of Sharapova who was caught out by the sport's anti-doping
laws after failing to realise that Meldonium, previously legal, had been added
to the banned list.
"I'm not hiding my views. I think the same as Andy
Murray," Radwanska, who has beaten Sharapova only twice in 15 attempts,
told the newspaper.
"This kind of entry into the tournament should be
available only for players who were dropped in the ranking due to injury,
illness or other random accident.
"Not for those suspended for doping. Maria should
rebuild her career in a different way, beginning with smaller events.
"She wouldn't have a chance for (a wildcard) from my
hands (if I was a tournament director)."
With the main draw deadline passed Sharapova's hopes of
playing in the tournament she won in 2012 and 2014 could rest with FFT
president Bernard Giudicelli who last month admitted the decision was
The absence of three-times winner Serena Williams, could be
a factor as the women's game is short on big personalities.
A decision is expected on May 15.
Playing through the qualifying tournament is also a
possibility for Sharapova, although in order to have a high enough ranking for
the May 1 deadline to enter that she would probably have to win the Stuttgart
The French Open starts on May 28.