Maria Sharapova has been granted a wildcard for next month’s Women Tennis Association event in Birmingham, central England, organisers said . The decision came just a day after the Russian former world number one was refused a wildcard for the French Open following her 15-month ban for doping. AFP pic

PARIS: French Open director Guy Forget has said he was under no pressure to award a wildcard entry to two-times champion Maria Sharapova who returned to action last month following a 15-month doping ban.

The 30-year-old Russian was widely expected to be fast-tracked into the year’s second grand slam but tournament organisers took the unexpected decision to deny her entry.

With Sharapova opting to play qualifiers instead of requesting a wildcard at Wimbledon, Forget believes she is ready to move on.

“I think she’s an honest person, she made a mistake and she paid dearly for it and wants to forget about it now,” Forget told Eurosport.

“And I think the fact that in Wimbledon...she will play the qualifying, I think it is a very smart way of saying, ‘listen that’s the past now and I want to move on, I don’t want to think about it’.”

Roger Federer, 18-times grand slam champion, pulled out of the French Open last week.

The 35-year-old Swiss, who won the Australian Open in January after six months out of action due to injury, will skip the claycourt event for the second consecutive year.

“I think this tournament is so demanding physically...that is probably why Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Pete Sampras never won it and Roger has won it once,” he added.

“He’s (Federer) at an age where he has to be very careful. I think, even himself was very surprised with all the success he gets so quickly with such a consistent way. So we respect his decision.” __ REUTERS

80 reads