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Maria Sharapova

The crown jewel of the Women’s Tennis Association, Maria Sharapova, is having some issues with their scheduling requests and is in a position to receive one of the more ludicrous fines in the history of sports. The issue has to do with a WTA-sponsored photo shoot and Sharapova’s unwillingness to take part in it so close to an actual tennis tournament — you know, the reason she’s even apart of the WTA to begin with.

As pointed out over at Fanhouse, for her unwillingness to deal with a four-hour photo shoot in Rome after arriving from Los Angeles, Sharapova is facing a $700,000 fine (other reports indicate the fine was $300,000). I say again: the WTA wants to fine their most popular member almost/over a half-a-million dollars because she doesn’t want to take part in a photo-shoot so close to a tournament she’ll be participating in.

That’s a little steep, isn’t it?

Over at her official site, Maria addresses this issue and actually comes across with some sense, unlike the WTA’s idea of fining someone $700k for not wanting to have their picture taken.

Regardless of how long the potential shoot might take, Sharapova has taken her case public, as the tour is threatening her with a $700,000 fine if she doesn’t participate. This isn’t a phantom fine, the kind where the tour dips into a player’s year-end bonus pool; it’s a real fine, which would be deducted from her upcoming prize money.

“The tour does not care what any of the players think, not just top players,” Sharapova told TennisReporters.net from her home in LA. “The tour will say we have done all these amazing things that the players wanted, but trust me these things they wanted as well and financially benefited from, including this shoot. I want people to understand that I took this action because this is one in a long list of things that the tour has ignored the players. This is not about just one shoot. I just could not just sit back anymore.”

For some reason, I’m absolutely blown away by the amount of the potential fine. Seven Hundred Thousand Dollars? Are you freaking kidding me? Because one of the best women players in the world would like to abstain from a photo-shoot that could interfere with her preparation for playing in the actual tennis tournament she’s in Rome for.

So which is it, WTA? Is Maria just your mantel piece you’re dying to exploit a little more or is her play AND her natural beauty one of the main reasons women’s tennis is so popular?

Wouldn’t you rather her, you know, be in a position to actually win the thing and continue to increase the popularity of women’s tennis, or would you rather her appear in some eye candy photographs just so you plaster her face all over the place to promote your product?