Maria Sharapova will not pursue Wimbledon wildcard after opting for qualification route

Maria Sharapova was granted a wild card to play in the pre-Wimbledon tournament in Birmingham on Thursday, two days after she was rejected by the French Open because of her recent doping ban.

The former world No1 had seen her odds of being given a free pass into the Wimbledon main draw drift from 1/3 to 7/4 in the wake of the French Open snub.

She said she would not request a wild card for Wimbledon - although the cashed-up Grand Slam tournament would not have had the same commercial reason as Birmingham to grant her one.

Five-time Grand Slam Champion Maria Sharapova has today been named as the first of seven main draw singles wild cards for this summer's British WTA grass court events organised by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA).

"We did not take this decision lightly but - like all other WTA events before ours - have granted her a wild card so our Birmingham event can benefit British fans who can take in her matches on home soil". In return we are providing Maria with a Main Draw wild card for this year. She has, however, received an invitation to the traditional Wimbledon warmup tournament in Birmingham, England.

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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.

She was refused a wildcard entry into the French Open, which she has twice won, after officials said allowing her to play would go against the diligent work the event puts into clean tennis.

The 2004 champion at SW19 secured her place in Wimbledon qualifying by beating Christina McHale in the second round of the Italian Open earlier this week. I read very carefully articles 100 and 101 of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which reduced the length of your ban.

She withdrew from the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome on Tuesday after injuring her left thigh in a match against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

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".

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