Sharapova says won't request wildcard for Wimbledon main draw

The 30-year-old Sharapova has chosen not to wait for a wild card entry to participate directly to the main draw of Wimbledon 2017, but rather she is keen on sweating it out to make it to the main draw, by playing in the Wimbledon 2017 qualifying round, that takes place in Roehampton.

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.

She returned from a 15-month ban in April after testing positive for meldonium.

But Sharapova has now signed a two year deal with the Lawn Tennis Association to participate at Birmingham's Aegon Classic.

That prompted speculation that Sharapova may be handed a wildcard into the year's third major, but she revealed on her website that she will be entering the qualification tournament instead.

The All England Club's tennis sub-committee - which is due to make a decision on all Wimbledon wild cards on June 20 - has always been known to be sceptical about Sharapova's case.

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Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, of Croatia, returns the ball to Maria Sharapova, of Russian Federation, during the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Tuesday, May 16, 2017.

The 30-year-old, whose chances of climbing high enough up the Women's Tennis Association rankings to make the automatic Wimbledon draw were scotched when she pulled out of this week's Italian Open with injury, has chose to take matters into her own hands by attempting to win the Roehampton qualifying tournament.

That came hours after the French tennis authorities turned her down for Roland Garros, saying it would be wrong to hand a wild card to a player returning from a doping suspension. The five-time Grand Slam victor had plummeted to 211.

"I have some great memories of playing there over the years, including winning the title on two previous occasions". Sharapova won Wimbledon in 2004.

Former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash said this week that he fully supported the FFT's decision to refuse her a wild card, adding that he hoped Wimbledon would follow suit. This was reduced to 15 months on appeal by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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