Johannesburg [South Africa]: Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova pulled out of the Italian Open with a thigh injury during her second-round tie against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni on Tuesday, hours after learning she would not be granted a wild card into the French Open.
Sharapova, who was wearing a bandage on her left thigh, retired from her contest when she was leading Baroni 4-6, 6-3, 2-1.
The Russian tennis star had left the court for an injury timeout during the second game of the third set.
She came back with her left thigh taped and managed to win a game despite serving softly, then walked to the net after the veteran Croat held serve.
Defeat in the Italian Open meant that Sharapova also missed out on a chance to qualify for the main draw at Wimbledon, which she could have achieved by reaching the finals in Rome, reports Sport24.
Sharapova had made a return from her 15-month doping ban without a ranking last month and has since risen to 211 in the world after receiving wildcards in Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome.
The 30-year-old had been hoping to receive a wildcard either into the main draw or the qualifying tournament.
“You can get a wild card when you return from injury but you cannot get a wild card when returning from a doping suspension,” French Tennis Federation chief Bernard Giudicelli Ferrandini said in an internet media conference.
“I appreciate the media impact of Maria, I appreciate the broadcasters’ expectations but in conscience, it was not possible to go beyond the anti-doping code and beyond the application of the rules.”
“I’m very sorry for Maria, very sorry for her fans,” added Giudicelli.
“They might be disappointed, she might be very disappointed, but it’s my responsibility, my mission, to protect the high standards of the game,” he added.
The French Open, which starts from May 28, will now be without the twice former winner as well as Swiss maestro Roger Federer and the pregnant Serena Williams. (ANI)