Ethics and aesthetics. Principles and wealth. Opportunity and style. Maria Sharapova divides, polarizes and exasperates in equal measure. Throughout her long career, Sharapova has managed to delight and anger fans around the world.
Italians, for example, largely dislike Sharapova at present because she was recently handed a wild card for the tournament in Rome ahead of local favorite Francesca Schiavone, who is in the final year of her illustrious career.
Of course, this situation cannot be blamed entirely on Sharapova. The tournament’s decision was based on its best interests, and its best interests involved an international superstar playing on its courts. Was it entirely ethical? Well, that’s debatable, but aesthetics often trumps ethics in every walk of life, and tennis is no exception.
Italian sentiment against Sharapova also took a hit when the Russian beat Roberta Vinci in the first round of the Stuttgart event, which was also her first tournament back after the suspension. There, too, Sharapova was granted a wild card, a move which was also not without controversy