Maria Sharapova to enter Wimbledon qualifying tournament

It comes two days after the Russian former world number one was refused a wildcard for the French Open following her 15-month ban for doping.

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

Organisers at the French Open confirmed on Tuesday that they would not hand Sharapova a place at Roland Garros, with French Tennis Federation president Bernard Guidicelli insisting "then there can not be a wild card for return from doping".

"A few months ago, I received a wild card offer from Birmingham", said Sharapova on her website, "[which was] one of my most memorable tournaments as a young player. The Edgbaston Priory Club is a venue at which she has previously performed well, winning the event in 2004 - before going on to become Wimbledon champion at...

Maria Sharapova says she will not request a wild card into the main draw at Wimbledon and will instead enter the qualifying rounds.

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The Bank of England Sports Centre in south London is likely to be busier than usual in June - the venue is going to host Maria Sharapova, who has confirmed she wants to secure a place at Wimbledon through the grand slam's qualifying tournament.

"This wasn't a decision we took lightly and we recognise not everyone will agree with it, however Maria has served her ban in full and is now back playing high quality tennis", said LTA chief executive Michael Downey in a statement. Wimbledon donates a large share of its profits to the LTA but the grand slam oversees its own tournament independently of the governing body.

Sharapova would have made the cut for SW19 had she reached the Italian Open semi-finals, but she was forced to retire from her second round match due to a thigh injury.

However, in light of the decision of French Tennis Federation (FFT) on Tuesday to snub Sharapova for a French Open wildcard, they would have been under pressure to follow suit. I read very carefully articles 100 and 101 of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which reduced the length of your ban.

Ironically, the last time Sharapova was forced to qualify for an event was at the Birmingham tournament in 2003.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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