Financial pressure may persuade French Open to give Sharapova a wild card

Financial pressure may persuade French Open to give Sharapova a wild card

23 news, 0

LONDON, May 15 (Reuters) - Tuesday is D-Day for Maria Sharapova as she awaits the announcement of the French Tennis Federation as to whether she will receive a wild card into this year's French Open.

The Russian's return from a 15-month ban for a doping violation has divided opinion with many players asking whether Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome were right to give her a wild card into their events.

Sharapova reached the semi-finals on her return in Stuttgart last month but did not have enough ranking points to get straight into the main draw in Paris, nor the qualifying event.

As a grand slam event, the French Open is perhaps less in need of extra publicity than a regular Tour event, its sponsorship and advance ticket sales largely unaffected by the presence of an individual player.

However, the Roland Garros tournament, which will announce the decision on Facebook Live at 1900 local time (1700 GMT) on Tuesday, may feel under financial pressure to grant Sharapova a wild card, either for qualifying which starts on May 22 or for the main draw six days later.

As the smallest of the four grand slam venues, Roland Garros has the lowest attendance and generates the least revenue, and a decade-long stalemate over its plans to expand means it faces being left behind as the other slams continue to grow.

French Open revenue was 187.3 million euros ($205 million) in 2015, compared to Wimbl...

    More on

    Maria Sharapova, a year
    Tennis: Sharapova retires after French Open snub, Murray stunned
    Maria Sharapova, a year
    Maria Sharapova vows to 'rise up again' after French Open snub