Caroline Wozniacki criticizes Sharapova wild card in Stuttgart

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While Caroline Wozniacki expressed her concern, Venus Williams has no problem with the Russian returning. (AP Photo)

Caroline Wozniacki became another WTA player critical of the decision to allow Maria Sharapova to begin her comeback in Stuttgart, while Venus Williams says she does not have a problem with the Russian returning.

The Danish player said the five time Grand Slam champion was a drawing card, but should not have been allowed to play in Stuttgart, which begins two days before she completes her anti-doping suspension.

"I think it's very questionable," she said at Indian Wells, "allowing a player that is still banned to play a tournament that week.

"I think it's disrespectful to other players and the WTA."

Sharapova's first round match at the event has been scheduled for the exact day she is eligible to return to competition. "Obviously the rules are twisted and turned in favor of who wants to do what," said Wozniacki.


The Russian received a reduced 15-month ban for meldonium, with the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling that she had not intentionally broken anti-doping rules when she took the recently banned substance.

Wozniacki expressed confidence in Sharapova`s ability to return, but indicated that she did not agree with her receiving wildcards.

"I think everyone deserves a second chance and I think that she's going to come back and she's going to fight her way back," she said. "But at the same time, I feel like when a player is banned for drugs, I think that someone should start from the bottom and fight their way back, because it's different from an injury."

However, Venus Williams said tournaments should decide whether to give Sharapova a wildcard, adding that it would "be nice to have her back in the game."

"I think the bodies have made their decision and she has an opportunity to come back and continue her career. I think she should be able to continue that.

"If people want to give her wildcards, I guess that's the tournament's decision as they weigh other wildcards," she said.


Sharapova has received wildcards into Stuttgart, Madrid, and Rome as she begins her comeback.

She will not have a ranking for her initial return to tour.



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