Russian tennis star Sharapova getting ready for Wimbledon qualifiers
22 May, 2017, 16:34 | Author: Felix Jensen
Sharapova needed to reach at least the semi-finals of the Italian Open to qualify for the main draw of Wimbledon 2017.
"A few months ago, I received a wild card offer from Birmingham, one of my most memorable tournaments as a young player", Sharapova was quoted as saying by her official website.
Sharapova's attempts to secure a wildcard for this month's French Open were rejected by the French Tennis Federation this week.
The 2004 champion is ranked 211, below the cut-off for direct entry, although her first-round win at this week's Italian Open means she is assured a place in the qualifying tournament played a few miles away from Wimbledon.
The Russian also allayed fears about a thigh injury that saw her retire from this week's Rome Masters.
Yesterday, it was confirmed Sharapova would feature at the Aegon Classic in the Edgbaston Priory Club in Birmingham after being given a wildcard by the Lawn Tennis Association.
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While this ended her hopes of qualifying on merit for Wimbledon's main draw, a decision on whether she is granted a main draw spot will be taken on June 20, according to reports.
Although having no place in the WTA rankings earlier in the year due to the previously imposed suspension, the world's former No. 1 Sharapova was granted wildcards for tennis tournaments in Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome.
A five-time slam victor, the 30-year-old was denied a wildcard entry to next month's French Open but will not be relying on that route to try and claim a berth at the All England Club in July.
Sharapova, 30, recently returned from a 15-month doping ban after admitting she had used the banned hormone and metabolic modulator meldonium. But Sharapova, a two-time victor at Roland Garros, probably knows it better than anyone else that her dreams of making a strong comeback will take a lot to realise.
Men's world number one and reigning Wimbledon champion Andy Murray has been clear in his view that returning offenders should have to work their way back up and the same opinion has been expressed by a number of players on the women's tour.
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At that club if in six months you don't win you are really out, like Barcelona or Bayern Munich, there you have to win by far. In my situation at a big club - I'm sacked, I'm out. "Here they gave me a second chance.
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