Russia’s Maria Sharapova has confirmed she will not ask for a wildcard entry for the Wimbledon Championships, opting to compete in the qualifying rounds.
The five-time Grand Slam women’s singles title winner announced today that she has decided to try her luck in the preliminary rounds, being played at Roehampton’s Bank of England Sports Centre, of the tournament which she won in 2004 as a 17-year-old.
On Tuesday (May 16), the 30-year-old who returned to tennis last month after serving a 15-month drugs ban was denied a wildcard to the French Open, which starts at Roland Garros in Paris on May 28.
Much debate has surrounded Sharapova over whether she should be given wildcards to competitions following her return.
However, with a first round win over Christina McHale at the Rome Masters on Monday (May 15), Sharapova guaranteed herself a slot in the qualification rounds of Wimbledon as it pushed her back into the top 200 of the world rankings.
She still had the option of applying for a wildcard, but the London 2012 Olympic Games women’s singles silver medallist has confirmed she will not go down this route.
“Because of my improved ranking after the first three tournaments of my return, I will also be playing the Qualifying of Wimbledon in Roehampton, and will not be requesting a wildcard into the main draw,” she said in a statement on her website.
Qualifying rounds are scheduled to be played between June 26 and 29, with Sharapova having to go through three rounds in order to get among the 128 players in the main draw for Wimbledon, which takes place from July 3 to 16.
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.
Sharapova was handed a two-year ban after testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.
Her ban was later reduced to 15-months following a successful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.