Sharapova decides against asking for Wimbledon wildcard

Tennis- WTA- Rome Open- Maria Sharapova of Russia v Mirjana Lucic Baroni of Croatia- Rome Italy- 16/5/17 Sharapova serves the ball. R

The 30-year-old returned last month from a 15-month doping ban, but has not yet managed to earn a high enough ranking to enter directly into the main Wimbledon draw.

Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova has been banned for two years after failing a drug test, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced on June 8, 2016.

Organisers at the French Open confirmed on Tuesday that they would not hand Sharapova a place at Roland Garros, with French Tennis Federation president Bernard Guidicelli insisting "then there can not be a wild card for return from doping".

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) has accepted a request from Maria Sharapova to play at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham next month. I am so grateful and excited to be playing the event again!

"I have already started getting treatment on the injury I sustained a few days ago in Rome, and will begin my preparation as soon I get better", the five-time grand slam champion said.

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

But the LTA has made a decision to grant her a wildcard for the event between the French Open and Wimbledon, and the two-time champion will now turn out for the event in Birmingham for the next two years.

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. Sharapova won Wimbledon in 2004.

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.

She was initially banned for two years but this was reduced to 15 months on appeal by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which stated she bore no "significant fault" and did not intend to cheat.

Ironically, the last time Sharapova was forced to qualify for an event was at the Birmingham tournament in 2003.

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

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