Maria Sharapova’s planned return from a 15-month ban at Stuttgart next month is “disrespectful” to other WTA players, according to former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, AFP reports.
The tournament will already be underway when five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova’s suspension ends on 26 April. And she is expected to play her first match that day.
“I think it’s very questionable, allowing – no matter who it is – a player that is still banned to play a tournament that week,” Wozniacki said. “I think it’s disrespectful to the other players and the WTA.”
Wozniacki said she had no problem with Sharapova, whose ban for a positive test for meldonium was reduced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
But she said the Russian star, whose world ranking has been wiped out by her absence, should play her way back into tournaments.
“I think everyone deserves a second chance, and I think that she’s going to come back and she’s going to fight her way back,” Wozniacki said.
“I’m sure she’s going to play well. But at the same time, I feel like when a player is banned for drugs, I think that someone should start from the bottom and fight their way back, because it’s different from an injury where someone is out because they had hurt themselves.
Wozaniacki spoke after securing her third-round berth at the Indian Wells hard court tournament with a brisk 6-3, 6-0 victory over Poland’s Magda Linette.