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Sharapova to play Wimbledon qualifiers rather than requesting wild card

The Russian, a two-time champion at Roland Garros, was informed that her request for entry into the forthcoming grand slam following her recent return from a drugs ban had been rejected on Tuesday.

Sharapova returned from her doping ban on April 26 but relied on wildcards to get into tournaments because her world ranking points expired while she was banned.

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".

In a statement on her website, titled "An update on my grass court tournament schedule", Sharapova said: "A few months ago, I received a wild card offer from Birmingham, 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...

'There can be a wildcard for the return of injuries - there cannot be a wildcard for the return from doping, ' FFT chief Bernard Giudicelli Ferrandini said.

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Wimbledon chiefs will wait until June 20, just days ahead of the qualifying event, before deciding whether to give her a wildcard. "Now that Maria has earned direct entry into Wimbledon qualifying, we want to give British tennis fans the chance to see her compete on grass here in Britain beforehand". The five-time Grand Slam victor had plummeted to 211.

Sharapova would have needed to reach the semi-finals in Rome to climb high enough to gain a spot in the main Wimbledon draw, but she withdrew during her second round match against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni after injuring her left hamstring.

The Russian has accepted wild cards to enter all three of her tournaments since her return, attracting criticism from many players.

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.

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