Serena Williams criticizes the tournament officials in Dubai for not handing former two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova a wild card. The tournament gave out wild cards to veteran Marion Bartoli, as well as teenagers Laura Robson and Yulia Putintseva.
Kuznetsova was off the tour for six months due to a knee injury and just returned in Australia. A three-time finalist in Dubai, she is currently ranked No. 51. Kuznetsova owns a home in Dubai and when she found out she was not getting a wild card she tweeted: “Someone can explain me the Wild Cards of Dubai??? What a choice ...”
Williams, who is friendly with Kuznetsova, told reporters there that it was tough on the Russian.
“She’s such a great player and she got injured. She’s won a couple of Grand Slams, so it’s like how can such a great player not get a wild card?" Serena said. "It’s kind of weird, but she’ll be back and then she’ll be fine, so she doesn’t have a lot to worry about. (If I were in her situation) I would request a wild card, and if I didn’t get one, I probably wouldn’t play.”
Kuznetsova qualified, but lost to Roberta Vinci, 6-3, 6-2, in the first round.
“I read what Serena said, that she wouldn't play the tournament,” Kuznetsova said. “The thing is there aren’t so many tournaments to play. I wouldn't play it, either, because I think I deserve to have a wild card. But in my situation, I just have to go through this patch. Not many players that would say just ‘I'm not gonna play.’ But there’s also a good way to look at it. That I have to still be humble. I still have to prove that I can do it and I can go through qualies.
"It's very weird, believe me, to play qualies. You're like you cannot turn yourself on, like, 'Where am I? Am I playing qualies for real?’”