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Wozniacki: Sharapova Wild Cards Disrespectful To WTA

Injury-induced inactivity sent Caroline Wozniacki's ranking plummeting to No. 58 last August.

Wozniacki has worked hard to rise back to No. 14, which is one reason why the former world No. 1 says "it's disrespectful" to players for tournaments to award wild cards to Maria Sharapova and other players returning from doping bans.

Watch: Kerber, Wozniacki Advance in Indian Wells

Echoing comments world No. 1 Andy Murray made last week, Wozniacki says Sharapova, who is set to return from a 15-month doping ban on April 26th with a wild card in Stuttgart, should "start from the bottom and fight her way back."

“First of all, I think obviously she's a good draw to tennis, women's tennis in general. That's one,” Wozniacki said of Sharapova in her BNP Paribas Open press conference today. "But, two, I think it's very questionable, allowing—no matter who it is—a player that is still banned to play a tournament that week.

"I think that's—from the tournament side, I think it's disrespectful to the other players and the WTA. But, you know, it is what it is. Obviously rules are twisted and turned in favor of who wants to do what."

Crediting five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova as a major draw for women's tennis, Wozniacki favors giving second chances to players. 

Sharapova has received wild cards into Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome.

But Wozniacki asserts competitors coming back from doping suspensions should "fight your way back from the bottom" because performance enhancing drug suspensions are not the same as players forced out of the game due to injury.

"I think everyone deserves a second chance, and I think that she's going to come back and she's going to fight her way back," Wozniacki said of Sharapova. "I'm sure she's going to play well. But at the same time, I feel like when a player is banned for drugs, I think that someone should start from the bottom and fight their way back, because it's different from an injury where someone is out because they had hurt themselves.

"That way I feel like a player should be able to receive as many wild cards. But when someone has been banned for drugs and something that is performance enhancing, I think that you deserve a second chance like everybody else, people make mistakes, but I think you should fight your way back from the bottom."

Asked her reaction to the wild card issue, Venus Williams said she views it as a tournament decision.

"I think the bodies have made their decision, and she has an opportunity to come back and continue her career," Williams told the media today. "I think she should be allowed to continue that. If people want to give her wild cards, I guess that's the tournaments' decision as they weigh other wild cards.

"It will be nice to have her back in the game."

The 29-year-old Sharapova defeated Wozniacki in the 2013 BNP Paribas Open final two years after Wozniacki swept Sharapova in the 2011 Indian Wells semifinals.

 Photo credit: Christopher Levy