French Open wild-card controversies extend beyond Maria Sharapova

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Paul-Henri Mathieu, who plans to retire, had his wild-card request denied. (AP)

The decision not to give Maria Sharapova a wild-card for the French Open has been followed by other wild-card controversies surrounding the tournament.

While French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli referred to "the high standards of the game" in denying Sharapova a wild card, the federation gave a qualifying wild card to French player Constant Lestienne, who received a seven-month suspension in 2016 for betting on tennis matches. 

A year ago, his main-draw wild card was withdrawn by the federation because he was under investigation for betting.

"Constant has paid his debt," Giudicelli told The New York Times. "There is no reason, once again, to refuse him this wild card because he was part of the group, in terms of ranking, who were in contention."

Paul-Henri Mathieu, who plans to retire, had requested a wild card into the main draw of the French Open. The 116th-ranked 35-year-old was not given entry, but Julien Benneteau, who is the same age and ranked No. 103, was given entry.


"I am acknowledging the decision of the FFT not to grant me a WC," Mathieu wrote on social media. "Obviously, a WC is not a 'right,' but I am in complete disagreement with the manner and confusing explanations provided."

Among the reasons given, Giudicelli said that Benneteau had shown commitment, and had recently played Davis Cup. 

Former French Davis Cup captain Arnaud Clement was among those who questioned the decision.


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