Ruben Hill
March 12, 2017

"Sharapova is an irreproachable athlete, a true professional".

Ms Sharapova has no world ranking to gain direct access to tournaments in the wake of her ban, so, she starts her season at zero level.

Among tennis' top players and executives, opinions on Sharapova's exemptions were a mix of cautious and conflicted.

Sharapova will return to the sport at the Stuttgart tournament on April 26, the day her 15-month doping suspension ends.

"This is, all over, a unusual situation", Kerber said. "It's a little bit unusual also for the other players that someone can only just walk on site on Wednesday and play on Wednesday", WTA Tennis quoted her as saying.

Kerber, rarely outspoken, is a surprising voice of dissent regarding the Stuttgart event, where she is defending champion. "She is impatient, she wants to play and win".

He rebutted the notion that there was any sort of star treatment for Sharapova.

"She can receive wild cards because she was No. 1 in the world", Romania's Simona Halep said.

"I think it's going to be good for the fans, good for the sponsors", Muguruza said.

Maria Sharapova and her coming back to the professional tennis court causes discussions, the players of both ATP and WTA have split in their opinions regarding the Russian's wild cards opportunities. I'm sure she's going to play well. "That's something that maybe should be looked at".

France's world number eight Jo-Wilfried Tsonga said he didn't think Sharapova should get a Paris invitation. "He's going to do it again".

"I think it's great for tennis, her comeback", Kuznetsova said. He said they spoke for a long time and had agreed to keep the content of their meeting confidential.

"I heard what Andy Murray said [about this]". "It's not an easy decision".

"This is a odd situation", said the German.

Sharapova's suspension ends next month, having tested positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open in Melbourne, with the former world number one and five-time grand-slam victor unaware the substance had been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's prohibited list.

Russian countrywoman Svetlana Kuznetsova hummed a similar tune.

"I would not do it", he said. "But it's really hard to say". I think, from the tournament side, it's disrespectful to the other players and the WTA. "You'd have to have rules for so many different things". "I think she's looking forward to it". This year will be even more complicated than last one, say the experts.

"Definitely I think tennis needs a person like she is, so on one hand it's good that she's gonna be back", Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova said.

"I think it just depends on the tournaments, depends on the directors who are deciding wild cards".

Christopher Clarey contributed reporting.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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