Maria Sharapova ends Wimbledon wildcard speculation by entering Roehampton qualifying tournament

With a world ranking above 200, she missed out on a place in French Open qualifying but has done enough for a spot in the Wimbledon qualifier.

Sharapova was initially hoping to be handed a wildcard to the main draw at Wimbledon this summer, but she has made a decision to enter the competition at the qualifying round and will need to win three matches in Roehampton to claim a place at SW19.

Since the end of her ban, Sharapova has used wild-card entries to play three events on the WTA Tour to get her world ranking up to a level where she can automatically enter anywhere again.

Wimbledon qualifying provides 16 main draw places for men and 12 for women if they win through three rounds.

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. Wimbledon's website states wild cards are typically offered "on the basis of past performance at Wimbledon or to increase British interest".

Sharapova was initially banned for two years after testing positive for then newly-banned heart condition drug meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.

Maria Sharapova will play in the Wimbledon qualifying tournament.

She has denied using it for any performance-enhancing objective, and an initial two-year ban was cut on appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which concluded that while she committed an anti-doping violation there was "no significant fault" on her part. 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.

"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. I read very carefully articles 100 and 101 of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which reduced the length of your ban.

The French Open draw was already missing one of its biggest stars as the pregnant Serena Williams takes time out before the birth of her first child.

The Russian also allayed fears about a thigh injury that saw her retire from this week's Rome Masters.

  • Julie Sanders