Sharapova gets wildcard for Wimbledon warm-up event

Ross Houston
May 25, 2017

Maria Sharapova announced Friday that she would not request one of the eight wild-card invitations to Wimbledon and instead will attempt to qualify her way into the Grand Slam event.

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.

She had hoped for a favour from the French Tennis Federation (FFT) because her ranking, now 211, does not warrant an automatic place.

"We have received a two-year commitment from one of the most famous athletes in the world, Maria Sharapova, to play the Aegon Classic", LTA Chief Executive Michael Downey said.

She was refused a wildcard entry into the French Open, which she has twice won, after officials said allowing her to play would go against the diligent work the event puts into clean tennis.

Having retired injured in her second round match, however, she will miss the ranking cut-off for a main draw entry and would need a wildcard from the All England Committee on June 20 to avoid having to win three rounds of qualifying.

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.

"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", she said.

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.

However her hopes of securing a wildcard are now looking slim especially after the French Open denied her enter into the tournament. Wimbledon's website states wild cards are typically offered "on the basis of past performance at Wimbledon or to increase British interest".

She was banned from the sport after testing positive for meldonium, which was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned list at the start of 2016. Earlier this week, the Russian's request for a French Open wild card was rejected.

The Russian is returning to Wimbledon following a 15-month doping ban.

Maria Sharapova will have to win three qualifying matches to advance to Wimbledon.

"She made a mistake that we do not condone".

Other reports by iNewsToday