After losing to unranked Ekaterina Makarova in the second round of the US Open, No. 5 seed Caroline Wozniacki alluded to it being unfair she had to play somewhere other than Arthur Ashe Stadium while unranked Maria Sharapova, who advanced to the third round, was able to play on that court Wednesday.
“I think putting out a schedule where the No. 5 in the world is playing on Court 5, fifth match on after 11 (ET) — I think that’s unacceptable, you know,” Wozniacki told reporters. “And when you look on Center Court — I understand completely the business side of things and everything — but someone who comes back from a drug sentence — performance enhancing drugs — and then all of a sudden gets to play every single match on Center Court, I think that’s a questionable thing to do.
“I love the US Open. It’s a tournament I always look forward to. I think the scheduling was a little bit unfortunate this year. I think there is ways to respect players, to respect rankings and respect people who have done well in the past. There were a few things that could have been a little better.”
The US Open is the first major tournament for Sharapova, who was invited to the event as a wildcard, since her 15-month doping suspension ended in April. She originally received a two-year ban for testing positive for meldonium, but it was reduced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport last October after determining that the Russian star acted with “no significant fault.”
“I think it doesn’t set a good example, and I think someone who has fought their way back from injury and is 5 in the world deserves to play on a bigger court than Court No. 5,” Wozniacki said. “Finally they moved us to Court 17, which is a really nice court actually, and we had a great atmosphere out there. But I think they should probably look into what they need to do in the future.”
Wozniacki is a former No. 1 who reached the US Open final in 2009 and ’14. Her ranking had slipped over the past two seasons — she dropped to No. 74 last August — due to injuries.
In March, Wozniacki was critical of Sharapova receiving a wild-card entry into April’s Porsche Grand Prix, calling it “disrespectful.” That tournament was Sharapova’s first since returning from her ban.