20 May, 2017
Former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova said she will not request a wildcard for this year's championships after failing to gain a high enough ranking for direct entry to the main draw.
The French Tennis Federation this week decided against offering her a wild card either to the main draw or to qualifying.
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.
Maria Sharapova will compete in the main draw of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham next month after the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) confirmed today that they have handed the Russian a wild card.
The tennis player was initially set to serve a two-year suspension for violating anti-doping regulations starting January 26, 2016.
"We have received a two-year commitment from one of the most famous athletes in the world, Maria Sharapova, to play the Aegon Classic Birmingham", he said, after the Russian said she would play there in 2017 and 2018.More news: Tigers homer twice off Bundy, edge Orioles 6-5
Sharapova has accumulated enough points already to enter Wimbledon qualifying but an All England Club sub-committee will meet on 20 June to decide which players will be fast-tracked into the first round proper.
Andy Murray is arguably the most prominent current tennis player to have voiced his concerns over Sharapova, saying returning offenders should have to work their way back up.
Sharapova will also be at the tournament next year, with the event seen as one of the build-ups to 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. I am so grateful and excited to be playing this event again! The five-time Grand Slam victor had plummeted to 211.
She has denied using it for any performance-enhancing goal, 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. Sharapova tested positive for the controversial banned medication meldonium during January's Australian Open.