Paris - Maria Sharapova can rise above the furore
surrounding her return from a 15-month doping ban if she accepts the decision
to deny her a wild card entry to the French Open without rancour, former world
No 3 Pam Shriver has said.
Sharapova was widely expected to be fast-tracked into the
year's second grand slam tournament, which she has won twice before, but the
French Tennis Federation (FFT) took the unexpected decision to deny her entry
Shriver said Sharapova needed to come to terms with what had
happened and turn her attention to preparing for Wimbledon, where the Russian
is already one of the bookmakers' favourites for the title.
"She's smart and savvy," American Shriver, who won
21 grand slam women's doubles titles, said on ESPN. "She needs to take a
step back and reconcile that her return to major tennis is going to have to
wait and not be bitter about it.
"It's a chance to be above it all and
Several leading players have spoken out against tournaments
in Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome offering Sharapova wild cards following her
return to the circuit last month, arguing she should be given no special
treatment during her comeback.
"It has to be a really popular decision in the women's
locker room," Shriver said.
"So many players who are looked up to and admired have
spoken out against Sharapova... the overall feeling has to be one that we're
not going to grant special privileges to anyone, no matter how successful they
Sharapova, who tested positive for heart disease drug meldonium at last year's Australian Open, is guaranteed a place in the Wimbledon qualifying event but will need a wild card to get straight into the main draw at the All England Club.