dglobalnews.com Sharapova to enter Wimbledon qualifying tournament
Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Sports | By Jeannette Edwards

Sharapova to enter Wimbledon qualifying tournament

The Russian star, who has only recently returned following a 15-month drug ban, has been given a wildcard for the event in the West Midlands next month after tumbling down the world rankings.

Maria Sharapova in a statement said that she won't request a wildcard into this year's Wimbledon due to her "improved ranking" and she would playing in the qualifiers.

She won the first of her five grand slams at Wimbledon in 2004.

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.

Maria Sharapova has agreed a two-year deal with the Lawn Tennis Association to play at Birmingham's Aegon Classic.

Sharapova will, however, attend the Aegon Classic in Birmingham two weeks prior to Wimbledon and a week before qualifying, after being granted a place at the event.

The Bank of England Sports Centre in south London is likely to be busier than usual in June - the venue is going to host Maria Sharapova, who has confirmed she wants to secure a place at Wimbledon through the grand slam's qualifying tournament. "I am so grateful and excited to be playing at this event again!"

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"In return we are providing Maria with a main draw wildcard for this year".

That came hours after the French tennis authorities turned her down for Roland Garros, saying it would be wrong to hand a wild card to a player returning from a doping suspension.

"I do not agree with is the basis put forward by the French Tennis Federation for their decision with respect to Maria Sharapova", said Simon.

Former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash said this week that he fully supported the FFT's decision to refuse her a wild card, adding that he hoped Wimbledon would follow suit. The five-time Grand Slam victor had plummeted to 211.

Wimbledon qualifying starts on June 26 and Sharapova will need to win three matches to enter the main tournament.

The 30-year-old was banned for two years after testing positive for meldonium but had her ban reduced by the Court of Arbitration of Sport.

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