Maria Sharapova will make her highly anticipated comeback on Wednesday at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart against Roberta Vinci, but the debate about her being given wildcards to enter tournaments still rages on.
The 30-year-old is making her comeback from a 15-month doping ban, which ended at midnight on 24 April. A number of players have questioned the decision of the tournament director to hand her a wildcard to play a tournament on the week that her ban ends.
Apart from the tournament in Germany, Sharapova has been handed a direct entry to the Mutua Madrid Open and the Italian Open, both in May. The French Open and the Wimbledon Championships are yet to give an indication if they will give the former winner entry to the event.
According to the Telegraph, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) is considering handing the Russian star a wildcard for the qualifying draw even if she does not reach the final in Stuttgart, which is the minimum requirement if she wants entry into the preliminary stages of the Grand Slam without a favour from the association.
Sharapova can also make the Wimbledon main draw by her own right if she garners 600 points before the tournament begins at SW17 on 3 July. Theoretically, she will have to win the Stuttgart event and make the quarter-finals in Madrid or Rome to have a chance.
A number of players from the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) tour have come out and suggested that it was wrong for the tournament director to have given her a wildcard, with world number two Angelique Kerber and British world number one Johanna Konta urging authorities to revisit the rulebook.
"I think a situation like this has highlighted a lot of things that need clarity," Konta, the British world No 7 said, as quoted by the Times. "I think it's a rulebook issue, I don't think it's necessarily an individual issue."
"It's just a conversation right now," Kerber added about the situation. "It's not about the player, it's just about the weird situation."