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20 May 2017, 03:22 | Pamela Mathis
Sharapova granted Birmingham wildcard
The 2004 champion is now ranked 211 in the world, below the cut-off for direct entry, but her first-round win at this week's Italian Open means she is assured of a place in the qualifying tournament, played a few miles away from Wimbledon.
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.
Maria Sharapova has been granted a wildcard for next month's WTA grasscourt event in Birmingham, a key Wimbledon warm-up, organisers said Thursday. The snub was criticized by the WTA, which said there were "no grounds to penalize her further".
The five-time grand slam tournament victor will climb into the top 200 on Monday, high enough to earn a trip to London, albeit one that will begin earlier than usual. The French Open agreed, and decided on Tuesday not to give the two-time champion a wildcard for the Grand Slam this month.
"I have already started getting treatment on the injury I sustained a few days ago in Rome and will begin my preparation as soon I get better", she said.
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Pic: ReutersFormer world number one Maria Sharapova has signed a deal with the Lawn Tennis Association to play at Birmingham's Aegon Classic for the next two years.
An All England Club subcommittee will meet on June 20 to decide on wildcards for the main draw.
Wimbledon qualifying starts on June 26 and Sharapova will need to win three matches to enter the main tournament.
Grand Slam officials traditionally extend wild-card invitations to well-known players who have not met the qualifying requirements for reasons such as injury.
Sharapova won the title in Birmingham in 2004 and 2005, but has not competed in the tournament in seven years. I'm very sorry for Maria, her fans but it is my mission to protect the game, the high standards of game played without any doping in the sport.
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