Sharapova vows to "rise up again" after French Open snub

The five-times Grand Slam champion, one of the sport's biggest names, is guaranteed a place in the Wimbledon qualifying event but will need a wild card to get straight into the main draw at the All England Club. "So no matter what happens, there will be a lot of questions around that wildcard".

The FFT said it would be wrong to give a wildcard to a player whose failure to qualify for next week's tournament owed to a doping suspension rather than injury.

But several key members of the tennis fraternity spoke out against tennis associations' free handing of wild cards to players who had returned from drug bans, with Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Eugenie Bouchard among players who made their displeasure openly known.

Sharapova's early exit against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in Rome - due to injury - means that she can no longer secure a place in the main draw at Wimbledon, though she is already assured of entry into qualifying at SW19.

Federer lifted the trophy only once, in 2009, in the French Open, which took up the least part for his total of 18 Grand Slam titles. But yet others have said giving her a wildcard would be, like Tsonga put it, "giving candy to a baby that has made a mistake".

"I've been working really hard, both on and off the court, during the last month but in order to try and play on the ATP World Tour for many years to come, I feel it's best to skip the clay court season this year and prepare for the grass and hard court seasons", he added.

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Her initial ban had been set at two-years, but following an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), this was reduced to 15-months as they determined Sharapova had not intentionally doped.

There are no doubt numerous talented players waiting to take the limelight at Roland Garros.

"It is now up to you, day by day, one tournament after the next, to find the strength within you to win more major titles, without owing anything to anyone". The presence of Sharapova at the tournament could perhaps have brought viewers in.

That said, younger WTA talents can now have the limelight here - and that can only be a good thing. But on Monday, fans cheered and held up signs of encouragement for Sharapova, a three-time Rome champion, during her first-round match.

Maria Sharapova, of Russian Federation, returns the ball to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, of Croatia, during the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Tuesday, May 16, 2017. Her options include the Aegon Classic in Birmingham and the Aegon International at Eastbourne.

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