‘Maria Sharapova is starting from ground zero,’ says tennis association chief | tennis | Hindustan Times
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‘Maria Sharapova is starting from ground zero,’ says tennis association chief

Maria Sharapova’s return via a wildcard spot has angered her rivals, with Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki and Roberta Vinci vocal in their disapproval

tennis Updated: Apr 27, 2017 14:23 IST
Maria Sharapova gets into a car in Stuttgart on Monday, April 24. After the end of her 15-month doping suspension, Maria Sharapova will play at the Porsche Grand Prix tennis tournament in Stuttgart this week.
Maria Sharapova gets into a car in Stuttgart on Monday, April 24. After the end of her 15-month doping suspension, Maria Sharapova will play at the Porsche Grand Prix tennis tournament in Stuttgart this week. (AP)

Women’s Tennis Association Tour chief Steve Simon defended Maria Sharapova’s wildcard entry into the Stuttgart Open, pointing to other sports and their treatment of former dopers as an example.

After serving a 15-month ban for failing a drugs test, former world number one and five-time Grand Slam tennis champion Maria Sharapova will make her long-awaited comeback in Stuttgart on Wednesday.

Maria Sharapova’s return via a wildcard spot has angered her rivals, with Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki and Roberta Vinci vocal in their disapproval, but Simon defended the Russian 30-year-old’s return.

Factfile on tennis player Maria Sharapova, who returns to action on Wednesday after a 15-month doping ban. (AFP)

“You have to look at how other leagues and tours have handled players who have come back,” Simon told BBC Sport.

“They come right back to the team and start playing.”

“She is starting at ground zero,” Simon added.

“It is going to affect Sharapova’s seedings in big tournaments so she’s still going to pay a penalty for a while.

“If you think about it from other leagues, most of them [bans] are half of a season or a full season. She’s had a year and a half.”