Russian tennis star Sharapova getting ready for Wimbledon qualifiers

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Organisers at Wimbledon however are expected to follow their contemporaries at the French Open and not give Sharapova a wild card for this summer's tournament.

The 30-year-old returned from a 15-month suspension in April for a failed drug test, and her road back to contention has been littered with speed bumps.

"Because of my improved ranking after the first three tournaments of my return, I will also be playing the Qualifying of Wimbledon in Roehampton, and will not be requesting a wildcard into the main draw", she said in a statement on her website.

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.

"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." said LTA Chief Executive Michael Downey.


Other players, including Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber, have been outspoken about Sharapova receiving free passes into events. The five-time Grand Slam victor had plummeted to 211.

Maria Sharapova was granted a wild card to play in the pre-Wimbledon tournament in Birmingham on Thursday.

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. 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... A medical expert called upon by Sharapova to give evidence said the prescription had been justified "both as a cardio-protective agent and as a preventative agent for diabetes".

She has denied using it for any performance-enhancing objective, 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.

Meldonium appeared on the World Anti-Doping Association's banned list in 2016, with Sharapova claiming not to have opened the email which was sent to her outlining that it was now banned.

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