Maria Sharapova to play Wimbledon qualifiers after opting against wildcard

Sharapova granted Birmingham wildcard

"Because of my improved ranking after the first three tournaments of my return, I will also be playing the qualifying of Wimbledon in Roehampton, and will not be requesting a wildcard into the main draw", Sharapova said.

On Tuesday (May 16), the 30-year-old who returned to tennis last month after serving a 15-month drugs ban was denied a wildcard to the French Open, which starts at Roland Garros in Paris on May 28.

Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova announced on Friday her decision of taking part in the qualifying series of the Wimbledon tournament instead of waiting for a wildcard.

But Sharapova has now signed a two year deal with the Lawn Tennis Association to participate at Birmingham's Aegon Classic.

Maria Sharapova will probably have to win 10 matches to claim a second Wimbledon title this year after deciding not to request a wildcard for the championships.

Now the LTA appear firmly on Sharapova's side, that may work in her favour when the All England Club sub-committee meet on June 20 to decide which players will be fast-tracked into the first round proper of Wimbledon.

"However Maria has served her ban in full and is now back playing high quality tennis". The five-time Grand Slam victor had plummeted to 211.

Any wild card for Sharapova, who was Wimbledon champion as a 17-year-old in 2004, would have divided opinion.

Maria Sharapova, of Russian Federation, serves the ball to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, of Croatia, during the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Tuesday, May 16, 2017.

In response Sharapova wrote on Twitter: "If this is what it takes to rise up again, then I am in it all the way, everyday". No words, games, or actions will ever stop me from reaching my own dreams. And I have many'.

Maria Sharapova retired from her Italian Open match citing an apparent left thigh injury hours after learning she would not be granted a wild card into the French Open.

She has denied using it for any performance-enhancing objective, and an initial two-year ban was cut on appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which concluded that while she committed an anti-doping violation there was "no significant fault" on her part.


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