LONDON, May 19: Maria Sharapova has been granted a wildcard for next month’s WTA grasscourt event in Birmingham, a key Wimbledon warm-up, organisers said today.

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.

Next month will see 2004 Wimbledon champion Sharapova, 30, play the Birmingham event for the first time in seven years.

She is guaranteed a spot in qualifying for Wimbledon but still hopes to get into the main draw for the Grand Slam with a wildcard.

Wimbledon chiefs will wait until June 20, just days ahead of the qualifying event, before deciding whether to give her a wildcard.

Lawn Tennis Association chief executive Michael Downey accepted “not everyone will agree” with the decision to give Sharapova a wildcard for Birmingham. – AFP




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