Sharapova faces 10-match marathon to win Wimbledon title

Sharapova granted Birmingham wildcard

The decision came just a day after the Russian former world number one was refused a wildcard for the French Open following her 15-month ban for doping.

Maria Sharapova has announced she will not seek a wild card into Wimbledon's main draw and will instead play the qualifying rounds to secure her place.

Maria Sharapova will probably have to win 10 matches to claim a second Wimbledon title this year after deciding on Friday not to request a wildcard for the championships.

Sharapova was initially banned for two years after testing positive for then newly-banned heart condition drug meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.

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LTA chief Michael Downey said: '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. Sharapova's Wimbledon fate will be decided on June 20, when a committee meets to decide on wild cards for the main draw. I am so grateful and excited to be playing this event again!

Organisers of the event at Roland Garros confirmed that her doping suspension counted against her as he requested a wildcard entry to the tournament she has won on two occasions.

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.

Players, including No. 1s Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber, have been outspoken about Sharapova receiving free passes into events in the light of her doping ban, as opposed to coming back from an injury.

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

The five-time grand slam tournament victor will climb into the top 200 on Monday, high enough to earn a trip to London, albeit for a Wimbledon match programme that will begin earlier than usual.

Her ban was later reduced to 15-months following a successful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Since her return at the Stuttgart Open the 30-year-old has won five of her eight matches but retired injured from her match against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni at the Rome Open.

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