Johannesburg [South Africa]: Embattled Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova will learn on May 15 whether she will be able to compete at the French Open as she prepares to make a return from a doping ban.
Sharapova, who was handed over a 15-month suspension after being tested positive for banned substance meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open, will make her return to competitive tennis at the WTA Tour clay-court tournament in Stuttgart Open beginning April 26.
Stuttgart offered Sharapova a wildcard entry because she no longer has a world ranking — a move that angered some players.
Meanwhile, the five-time Grand Slam champion has also been handed wild cards for Madrid (May 7-13) and Rome (May 15-21) tournaments.
Whether Sharapova will receive a wildcard at Roland Garros will be known just a week before qualifying begins for the second major of the season, which is slated to be held from May 28 to June 11.
Earlier this month, French Tennis Federation (FFT) president Bernard Giudicelli had hinted at their reservations to give the 30-year-old player a wild card entry which she would require as her world ranking has almost disappeared during her absence.
Now, Giudicelli has insisted that the absence of pregnant Serena Williams would have no bearing on their decision.
“Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova are two unconnected cases. We’re staging a Grand Slam, not a casting,” Sport24 quoted Giudicelli as saying.
Sharapova admitted taking meldonium, insisting her only mistake was not realising the drug had been added to the banned list at the start of 2016.
Her initial two-year ban was reduced to 15 months following an appeal to the court of arbitration for sport, which concluded she had not intended to cheat. (ANI)