When, in an exclusive interview, Inside Tennis asked Andy Roddick about the Stuttgart WTA tournament giving Maria Sharapova a wildcard, the future Hall-of-Famer said it was a matter of “penalizing people after they’ve served a penalty. Being away from tennis for a year and a half is significant. Having known Maria, I think she is too smart to try to take something that she knew was illegal. She understands the legacy she has at stake, She understands the business angle of that affects things. So regardless of what you think about what she took for ten years, I don’t believe that she was trying to knowingly take something that was banned.
“The other thing is that we’re treating it as something that is like a moral thing for tournaments. But it’s a business. There’s no home team in tennis. So [it’s important] if you can have access to a star or someone who can create headlines. The fact that we are talking about Stuttgart in America makes a huge difference.”
Andy added that he’s miffed when he “reads articles about it and there’s no mention of the business upside, which in tennis we should all care about and support.”
Roddick continued, saying, “It seems a little a naive to me. I have a hard time having people trying to play judge and jury after time has been served…Do I think she deserves a wildcard? Sure, I think the wildcard should go to the people who can generate the most interest. How do you define wildcard? It should go to someone who generates the most interest, someone who can actually make a run [in the tournament] or some of the best players available to a given tournament. She fits the criteria of all of those. I don’t have a problem with it and I’m not going to criticize a tournament for doing what’s in their best interest.”