Andy Murray blames media for Maria Sharapova receiving wildcards

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Andy Murray blames media for Maria Sharapova receiving wildcards

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SportsCafe Desk

05/10/2017

Andy Murray believes that the media hype around Maria Sharapova's return has forced the organisers to include her in tournaments via wildcards. The Scot explained that Sharapova's inclusion in the events would increase the total revenue generated which is beneficial to the organisers.

Andy Murray, who had earlier opposed wildcards for players returning from doping bans adding that wildcards should be given on the basis of potential and not popularity, has stuck to his opinion and has blamed the media coverage surrounding Maria Sharapova's return for her wildcard entries in tournaments.

Maria Sharapova was recently awarded another wild card entry by the Lawn Tennis Association(LTA) for competing in the Aegon Classic tournament in Birmingham.

Sharapova has slipped to the 258th rank after her suspension on doping charges and is not entitled to compete in the tournament by the virtue of her position in the world rankings. The Times reported that she had been chosen as one of the four available wildcards for the tournament which will be played at Edgbaston Priory Club from June 17.

Since her return, Sharapova has competed in two tournaments as a wildcard. She lost in the semi-finals of the Stuttgart Open last month and last week was handed out a defeat in the second round of the Madrid Open by Eugenie Bouchard.

"I do think the tournaments are going to do what they think is going to sell the most tickets, give them the most coverage, get the most people in to watch," Murray told BBC Sport.

"I'm sure the LTA saw the coverage that was given, ... the amount of media covering it, and think that's what's best for the tournament in Birmingham. But I'm sure it's split a lot of opinions.

"I'm sure the discussions about whether to give it or not were long... but they've obviously done what they think is right for that event and maybe haven't thought as much about the wider implications."

The five-time grand slam winner last played at Aegon Classic in 2010 and it is highly unlikely that the 30-year old Russian would be able to acquire the total number of points required to qualify for Wimbledon. So again, she would have to hope for a wildcard in the grass tournament as well which will depend on the meeting of Wimbledon organisers that is scheduled on the 20th of June.

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