Sharapova to plead case for wild card entry in French Open

Johannesburg [South Africa], Mar.4 (ANI): Embattled Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova is all set to meet French Tennis Federation (FFT) president Bernard Giudicelli to plead her case for a wild card entry at Roland Garros as she makes her return from a doping ban.

Confirming the news, the newly-elected president of the FFT revealed that he has agreed to meet Sharapova despite his initial reservations to hand the tennis star a wild card.

"We're going to meet her (Sharapova), listen to her arguments and then talk it over with Guy (Forget, tournament director) and we'll make a decision," Sport24 quoted Giudicelli as saying.

Sharapova, who was handed over a 15-month suspension after being tested positive for banned substance meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open, will make her return to competitive tennis at the WTA Tour clay-court tournament in Stuttgart Open beginning on April 26.

Earlier on Thursday, Giudicelli had said the organization has not determined whether to give the Russian player a wild card which she would require as her world ranking has almost disappeared during her absence.

"It's complicated. We prefer that she returns completely rehabilitated. Integrity is one of our strong points. We cannot decide, on the one hand, to increase the amount of funds we dedicate to the anti- doping battle and, on the other, invite her," Giudicelli had said.

Meanwhile, the five-time Grand Slam champion has already been handed wild cards for Madrid (May 7-13) and Rome (May 15-21) tournaments.

If the 29-year-old fails to win over Roland Garros organisers, she would have to try her hand in the qualifying tournament which will be held at the Paris venue prior to the main draw.

However, Sharapova need to build up her ranking- which can only be done by clinching the Stuttgart Open title - in order to hold any chances of making it to the qualifying event.

The cut-off for French Open qualifying event will be held just after the Stuttgart tournament.

This year's French Open is slated to be held from May 28 to June 11. (ANI)