The French Tennis Federation announced on Friday that Maria Sharapova will find out during the week of May 15 if she will be permitted to compete at the French Open, which begins just two weeks later.
Sharapova was suspended after testing positive for a drug called meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open. Her original suspension was supposed to last two years, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport reduced the ban to 15 months last October. She will return to competition next week as a wild card in Stuttgart’s Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.
Her suspension officially ends on the third day of the tournament, so she can’t play until Wednesday.
The World Anti-Doping Agency banned meldonium, which was previously legal last year. When the violation occurred, Sharapova said she missed the memo telling her she had to stop using the drug.
Her return, though, will not come without controversy. Angelique Kerber, Andy Murray and several other top players have argued Sharapova should have to play her way back through qualifiers and shouldn’t be permitted to resume her career in main draws. She will also be a wild card at the Italian Open in Rome next month.
On the other hand, Sharapova is a five-time grand slam winner and former No. 1 player in the world. In addition, while she did make a mistake, she will end up serving her punishment for it.
The five-time champion was one of more than 100 athletes who tested positive for meldonium last year. Most of those cases were cleared because the drug was still in their system from taking it before the ban, but in Sharapova’s case, she took it after the cutoff date.