If you are keeping up with professional tennis you may know that Maria Sharapova failed to get a wildcard into the French Open and some folks are aghast. I’ve also seen some poor journalism regarding this tragedy. I’ve read that she was “snubbed,” and that she is being “punished.” Excuse me, but who in the hell said Sharapova was entitled to get a wildcard to the French Open? That is exactly what it sounds like.
Wildcards are at the discretion of the tournament, some having guidelines to go by. Sharapova has already proven herself on the world stage of tennis, so why should she be awarded a valuable spot over an up and coming player that has the potential to break into the big leagues? Saying she is being punished is akin to saying she deserves to be treated exceptionally. Most Grand Slams give wildcards to native athletes, with some having an exchange with other tournaments for preferred up and coming athletes. Giving Sharapova a Wild Card to the French Open would actually be punishing an up and coming player, and conversely, rewarding Sharapova for doping with a performance enhancing drug. Bravo to the French Open for doing what is right and not caving in to pressure. Here is a list of the players that did get a wild card to play in the French Open.
French Tennis Federation: FFT chief Bernard Giudicelli Ferrandini said: “There can be a wildcard for the return from injuries – there cannot be a wildcard for the return from doping.
WTA, Steve Simon: “I don’t agree with the basis for their decision. She has complied with the sanction,” said WTA chief Steve Simon.
Pat Cash, Former WImbeldon Champion: “She certainly should not be getting benefits from the fact that she got caught using an illegal drug,” he told BBC Radio 5 live. I would hope they [Wimbledon] would stay strong and say ‘no sorry, you have got to go through and play qualifying’.”
Maria Sharapova: “If this is what it takes to rise up again, then I am in it all the way, everyday,” she posted on Twitter on Wednesday. “No words, games, or actions will ever stop me from reaching my own dreams. And I have many.”
Sharapova is one of the hardest fighters on the tennis court and I have no doubt that she is able to work her way back up, whether it is by qualifiers or scant wildcards.