Maria Sharapova’s return to tennis from a doping ban is still more than five weeks away but the Russian is generating quite the buzz during the ongoing BNP Paribas Open in California.
Players including men’s No. 1 Andy Murray, seven-time grand slam winner Venus Williams, twice grand slam winner Angelique Kerber and former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki have all weighed in on whether the five-time grand slam winner and one of the world’s most recognizable athletes should benefit from wildcards as she tries to rebuild her tennis career.
The latter duo have also questioned whether the 29-year-old should be allowed to make her much anticipated comeback at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix — Wozniacki said the rules were “twisted and turned” for Sharapova — which may have led to the women’s WTA tour clarifying the rules Monday.
Sharapova is allowed to compete on April 26 following a 15-month suspension for testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open. That day falls on a Wednesday, three days into the clay-court event in Stuttgart where Sharapova did receive a wildcard.