Why Tennis World Should Be Wary About Welcoming Back Maria Sharapova?
Sports Plus|April 2017

She has no ranking points and will start from the scratch but high profile tournaments offering her wild-card is not right as it is setting the wrong trend. We know that she will complete her ban in April but that doesn’t mean a welcome gesture is needed...

Puneet Ahlawat

If any sport star is caught in a doping offense, he or she should get all the blame. We have seen that players make all sort of excuses to prove that they had nothing to do with it and it happened by a chance. The same was done by the former world number one tennis star Maria Sharapova of Russia. However, the good news for her is that she is about to complete her ban term on 25th April. The Women Tennis Association (WTA) has confirmed that Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova has all the right to participate in the tennis tournament in Stuttgart in April, according to a statement from the association. The 29-year-old Sharapova has already picked up wildcards for tennis tournaments in Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome, as she is making her return to the circle of the WTA following her suspension for doping rules violation. “Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova becomes eligible to play WTA tournaments on Wednesday, April 26, following a 15-month suspension,” the statement from the WTA said.

“As both a former Grand Slam champion and WTA Finals winner, Sharapova may request and receive an unlimited number of wildcard nominations, including the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix (in Stuttgart), where the Russian will make her return,” the statement said. “In compliance with WTA and the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme rules, Sharapova can participate in a tournament in the week that her suspension ends, providing that the first match that she is scheduled to contest takes place on or after the day on which she is eligible to return to competition,” the statement added. According to the Guardian, the five-time grand slam winner has accepted that she will have a cloud of suspicion hanging over her when she returns to the game. Asked if she expected the suspicion to linger for the rest of her career, Sharapova told Vogue: “I think if I was trying to hide something, I don’t think I would come out to the world and say I was taking a drug for 10 years. If I was really trying to take the easy way out, that’s not a very smart thing to do. But the answer to your question is, absolutely.”

REASON BEHIND HER BAN

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