Maria Sharapova to play Wimbledon qualifiers rather than requesting wildcard

The five-times grand slam champion, who recently served a 15-month doping ban, learned on Tuesday she would not be given a wildcard into the French Open, with the question over whether Wimbledon will grant her one as yet unanswered.

After serving a 15-month suspension for using the banned substance meldonium, the former Wimbledon victor is ranked 211th in the world and does not have enough points to make the tournament’s main draw.

However she has been granted a wild card for the Aegon Open in Birmingham in the build up to Wimbledon. I am so grateful and excited to be playing the event again!

In the statement, Sharapova also said that she is healing from the injury sustained in Rome a few days ago, and that she will return to training as soon as she is better.

Organisers at Wimbledon however are expected to follow their contemporaries at the French Open and not give Sharapova a wild card for this summer’s tournament.

Much debate has surrounded Sharapova over whether she should be given wildcards to competitions following her return.

Sharapova would have needed to reach the semi-finals in Rome if she was to climb high enough to gain a spot automatically, but she withdrew during her second round match against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni after injuring her left hamstring.

Sharapova has been sharply criticized by numerous players since returning to competitive tennis. The five-time Grand Slam victor had plummeted to 211.

The LTA confirmed on Thursday that it has handed Sharapova a place in the main draw for the Wimbledon warm-up event at the Edgbaston Priory Club from June 19 to 25.

The five-time grand slam tournament victor will climb into the top 200 on Monday, high enough to earn a trip to London, albeit for a Wimbledon match programme that will begin earlier than usual.

It had been expected that the FFT would hand Sharapova, who won the 2012 and 2014 titles on the Parisian clay, at least a wildcard into the qualifying tournament. She only made her comeback to the tour three weeks ago following a 15-month doping suspension.

She will need to win three matches to earn a place in the first round of the tournament itself.

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