Sharapova should not get French Open wildcard, says rival Radwanska

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It had been thought by many in the past day that the withdrawal of Williams could help the Russian, who is probably the only player who can draw crowds like the American, though the new president of the French Tennis Federation, Bernard Giudicelli, stated that the American's absence would have no influence over their decision.

Sharapova, a five-times Grand Slam champion, had an initial two-year suspension by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) reduced to 15 months after she tested positive at the 2016 Australian Open for meldonium.

"We're staging a Grand Slam, not a casting".

However, Sharapova could not have picked a better place to make her return, as has won the clay-court event three times.

Maria Sharapova has brushed off criticism from her rivals as she prepares to make her return next week in Stuttgart following her 15-month doping ban.

Sharapova, 30, is likely to receive a lukewarm reception in Stuttgart next week with several players, including another former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, also questioning whether she should have received a wildcard.

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The World Anti-Doping Agency banned meldonium, which was previously legal past year.

Men's world number one Andy Murray has also voiced his disapproval about the return of Sharapova who was caught out by the sport's anti-doping laws after failing to realise that Meldonium, previously legal, had been added to the banned list.

A decision on wildcards is expected on May 15, and eighth-ranked Radwanska said: "Maria should rebuild her career in a different way, beginning with smaller events". Not for those suspended for doping.

If Sharapova is not offered a wildcard to the French Open, she still has a chance of competing via the qualifiers.

If Sharapova misses out, the French Open will go ahead in the absence of the two biggest drawcards in the women's game.

Radwanska thinks Sharapova ought to have to work her way back up the rankings before having the privilege of playing at the highest level.

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