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.

"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.

Whilst acknowledging that wild-cards were discretionary, Simon said: "What I do not agree with is the basis put forward by the FFT for their decision".

Sharapova has moved to prevent a similar scenario happening at Wimbledon, announcing that she will take part in the preliminary rounds at Roehampton in the week leading up to the main tournament.

Instead, she will attempt to crash the field by playing the qualifying tournament. Wimbledon's website states wild cards are typically offered "on the basis of past performance at Wimbledon or to increase British interest".

Maria Sharapova of Russian Federation celebrates winning the singles match against Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan, at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Monday July 6.

Qualifying for Wimbledon begins May 26 at the Bank of England Sports Centre in Roehampton. However, the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled on October 4, 2016 to cut her suspension term from 24 to 15 months.

The tennis beauty, unfortunately, had to retire in-between her second round match against Lucic-Baroni, with a left thigh injury, while she was leading 4-6 6-3 2-1. The Edgbaston Priory Club is a venue at which she has previously performed well, winning the event in 2004 - before going on to become Wimbledon champion at...

However, the Russian says she will not wait for the announcement but enter into the qualifying tournament.

  • Julie Sanders