No Wimbledon wildcard for Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova has announced she will not seek a wild card entry to the main Wimbledon draw and intends to try and progress through qualifying for the grand slam event.

After serving a 15-month suspension for using the banned substance meldonium, the former Wimbledon victor is ranked 211th in the world and does not have enough points to make the tournament's main draw.

Commenting on her Aegon Classic entry, she said: "I am really excited to be coming back to Birmingham.as part of my build-up to Wimbledon and I thank the LTA for this opportunity".

She said she would not request a wild card for Wimbledon - although the cashed-up Grand Slam tournament would not have had the same commercial reason as Birmingham to grant her one.

She will then enter the qualifying stages at Wimbledon at Roehampton which will take place between June 26th and June 29th.

But the misdemeanour has not stopped other, smaller tournaments adding the Russian to their invitation list, including the Aegon Classic in June.

"There's always a lot of debate about who we give wild cards to".

French Open organizers declined to offer the Russian a wildcard at Roland Garros - even for qualifying - which drew a stinging response from Sharapova and the head of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Steve Simon.

However her hopes of securing a wildcard are now looking slim especially after the French Open denied her enter into the tournament.

Early past year, Sharapova announced that doping tests revealed the presence of the banned performance enhancing drug, meldonium, in her body.

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 WTA Tour.

"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. 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.

In return for the LTA's generosity, Sharapova has committed to play at the tournament again next year.

She withdrew from the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome on Tuesday after injuring her left thigh in a match against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

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