The return of Maria Sharapova to the tennis court has been mired with controversies, questions, and debates. Her return to matches in Madrid, Rome, and Stuttgart has divided the tennis community. The bone of contention is the agreement to grant her wildcards for matches even after her doping scandal and subsequent ban from the tennis arena.

One school of thought believes that there is nothing wrong with giving Sharapova wildcard entries to tennis matches. The other group vehemently opposes the same, stating that the giving her access to wildcard entries breaks the integrity of the game.

However, Sharapova has offered mechanical answers and icy stares to anyone who has raised questions about her 15-month doping ban.

Should she get wild cards?

A heated debate raged on the topic during one of the episodes of Channel Nine's Sports Sunday. Panelists Peter FitzSimons and Liz Ellis were of two different views regarding Sharapova being granted the wildcards for tennis tournaments. FitzSimons was in support of Sharapova whereas Ellis disapproved of the move.

FitzSimons was of the belief that the tennis sensation “made a mistake” and “served her time” and should be welcomed to the arena. However, Ellis disagreed with his opinion remarking that doping is a serious incident that strikes the “integrity of the sport.” She added that she has nothing against Sharapova or her return to the game, but granting wild card entries to the Russian tennis star was not appropriate.

Sharapova shamed by her peers

Sharapova’s journey at the Stuttgart Open was cut short recently by Kristina Mladenovic, who defeated the Russian tennis player in the semi-final match by 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. Incidentally, Mladenovic was one of the most vocal critiques of Sharapova being given wildcard entries in matches. Fellow tennis player Eugenie Bouchard of Canada even went as far as calling Sharapova a “cheat” and also stated that she should not have been allowed back to play.

By Monday, May 1, the qualifying field for French Open will be decided, and Sharapova is hoping to gain entry in the same through the wild card system. However, the feat is easier said than done as her defeat to Mladenovic has pushed her back to rank 262. For the unfamiliar, players in or around the top 200 rank are chosen for wildcard entries in the tournaments.

In the meantime, all of Sharapova’s hopes lies in the hands of the French Tennis Federation, who will now decide whether to give her a wildcard entry into qualifiers or a wildcard to the main draw. To know the decision, the Russian tennis star will have to wait patiently until May 16 for the declaration of results.