Sharapova is thrilled to get a wildcard for Birmingham

Posted May 20, 2017

Sharapova will have to win through three qualifying rounds to earn a spot in Wimbledon's 128-strong main draw.

The 2004 champion is now ranked 211 in the world, below the cut-off for direct entry, but her first-round win at this week's Italian Open means she is assured of a place in the qualifying tournament, played a few miles away from Wimbledon.

She is just returning from a drug ban and the organizers cited the ban as the reason for denying her a wildcard.

Sharapova needed to reach at least the semi-finals of the Italian Open to qualify for the main draw of Wimbledon 2017. But Sharapova, a two-time victor at Roland Garros, probably knows it better than anyone else that her dreams of making a strong comeback will take a lot to realise. The five-time Grand Slam victor had plummeted to 211.

Sharapova's attempts to secure a wildcard for this month's French Open were rejected by the French Tennis Federation this week.

Qualifying for Wimbledon begins May 26 at the Bank of England Sports Centre in Roehampton.

The now 30-year old is currently ranked 211, below the cutoff for direct entry into the Wimbledon main draw.

A five-time slam victor, the 30-year-old was denied a wildcard entry to next month's French Open but will not be relying on that route to try and claim a berth at the All England Club in July.

As the debate continues over whether certain tennis tour organisers have done the right thing by providing wild card entries to the "disgraced" Maria Sharapova, the Russian tennis star has given something back to her critics on Friday May 19.

Wimbledon's wildcard committee meets on June 20 but Sharapova has backed herself to come through the preliminaries. She has competed in the tournament seven times. I read very carefully articles 100 and 101 of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which reduced the length of your ban.

Grand Slam officials traditionally extend wild-card invitations to well-known players who have not met the qualifying requirements for reasons such as injury.

She won the first of her five grand slams at Wimbledon in 2004.