Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki has slammed the US Open organisers for allocating centre courts for Maria Sharapova’s first two matches in the competition.
Fifth seeded Wozniacki, who crashed out of the tournament on Thursday after losing to Ekaterina Makarova in three sets, was expected to play her second round encounter at Court 5. This was before she was shunted to Court 17 where she went down 6-2, 6-7, 6-1.
But Wozniacki wasn’t going away without lodging her protest against the USTA‘s decision to allow Sharapova to feature at the Centre Court despite being a drug offender.
Wozniacki said it was unfair for her, as the fifth seed, to play on Court 5 – which was the case according to the original schedule – and for Sharapova to feature in both her matches at the main court.
Speaking to the media after the match, Wozniacki said:
“Putting out a schedule where the No. 5 is playing on Court 5, fifth match on after 11pm, I think that’s unacceptable.”
“And when you look on Centre Court – I understand completely the business side of things – but someone who comes back from a drugs sentence, performance-enhancing drugs, and all of a sudden gets to play every single match on Centre Court, I think that’s a questionable thing to do.”
Sharapova, who had knocked out the second seeded Simona Halep from the competition in the first round, overcame a sluggish start to her second round encounter against Timea Babos before winning 6-7, 6-4, 6-1.
Wozniacki complained the US Open wasn’t setting a great example by featuring a world number five play on Court 5 as opposed to someone returning from a drug ban getting featured at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The Dane has long been critical of the decision to welcome Sharapova with open arms since her return from her drug ban. Wozniacki, who is a very close friend of Serena Williams, a rival of Sharapova. According to an earlier report in the Telegraph, this Williams-Sharapova rivalry is built on “antipathy, mistrust and malice.”
And it looks like the drug ban has only added to the mistrust between Sharapova and some of the other players on the WTA tour.
Sharapova will now face Sofia Kenin in the her third round match. The American has already knocked out Lauren Davis before beating Sachia Vickery in the second to set up this meeting.