Erakovic serves up criticism of Sharapova return

Author
Radio Sport Staff ,
Section
Tennis,
Publish Date
Thursday, 27 April 2017, 8:03AM
Maria Sharapova has marked her return with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Italian Roberta Vinci in the first round of the Stuttgart WTA tournament (Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova has marked her return with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Italian Roberta Vinci in the first round of the Stuttgart WTA tournament (Getty Images)

New Zealand tennis number one Marina Erakovic has joined the chorus of players opposed to Maria Sharapova's free passage back into top level tennis.

The Russian has played her first match since ending a a 15 month doping ban at the WTA tournament in Stuttgart after being given a wildcard by the tournament director.

Many leading players believe athletes returning from doping bans should have to return from the bottom up, and Erakovic agrees.

"It does bug me, and you know it's not just me. I think a lot of players out there don't feel it's right."

However, Erakovic can also see the perspective of tournament organisers giving her wildcards.

"Tennis is a business at the end of the day, Maria Sharapova is a past champion and multiple grand slam winner, so for tournaments it is in their interests that she plays so they can sell tickets."

The former world number one has marked her return with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Italian Roberta Vinci in the first round of the Stuttgart WTA tournament.

Sharapova said it's an unbelievable feeling to be back.

"I'm trying to get the rhythm again, and you know it's my first match in a while, but this is what I've done for so long, and when you're in a moment you try to block everything out and compete."

Sharapova has also been given wildcards into the Madrid and Rome clay court tournaments while French Open organisers will decide on May 16 whether to grant her direct entry into Roland Garros.

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