Caroline Wozniacki is unimpressed with Maria Sharapova being allowed to make her WTA Tour return in Stuttgart following a 15-month doping ban, labeling the decision as “disrespectful” to other players.
Sharapova’s suspension ends next month, having tested positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open in Melbourne, with the former world number one and five-time grand-slam winner unaware the substance had been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited list.
The Russian star’s return is imminent however her wildcard entry into the Stuttgart Open has divided opinion due to the fact that her ban will end after the tournament’s main draw begins.
Speaking at the BNP Paribas Open, Wozniacki said: “I think obviously she’s a good draw to tennis, women’s tennis in general. That’s one.
“But, two, I think it’s very questionable allowing – no matter who it is – a player that is still banned to play a tournament that week. I think, from the tournament side, it’s disrespectful to the other players and the WTA.
“It is what it is. Obviously rules are twisted and turned in favour of who wants to do what.
“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. 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 or where someone is out because they had hurt themselves. That way, I feel like a player should be able to receive as many wildcards.
“But when someone has been banned for drugs and something that is performance-enhancing, I think you deserve a second chance like everyone else, people make mistakes, but I think you should fight your back from the bottom.”
Wozniacki added: “I think she should be able to start the following week. Once a tournament has started and a player is banned, I don’t think that player should be allowed to play that week. That’s how I see it.”