A meeting of Wimbledon Open organisers on June 20 will most probably decide the fate of former champion Maria Sharapova unless she climbs high enough in the ranking to qualify for the tournament by then.
The Russian tennis player, who was banned for 15 months after testing positive for a banned substance, returned to action last week to reach the semifinals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. She rose to 262 in the world rankings after the Stuttgart tournament.
Sharapova has tournaments in Rome and Madrid to improve her form, failure of which will lead her to depend on a wildcard entry in either the qualifying or the main draw of the event.
All England Club chairman Philip Brook told media in a press conference, “We have a long-standing tried and tested process (for awarding wildcards) in the week before qualifying and this year is no different.”
Brook said that they would consider Sharapova’s case alongside the others. “First we will see if Maria applies for a wildcard and if so we will consider her case alongside everyone else’s. It will be a decision for the group on the day.”
Sharapova, who has been handed a wildcard in the Rome tournament, will have a day after the tournament gets over to make it to the cut-off for Wimbledon, the deadline for which is May 22.
“We look at who has done well in the lead up tournaments. We will also consider what might add interest to the tournament,” said Brook. “If someone has a strong record at Wimbledon that would be taken into consideration.”
Rome will be followed by Madrid tournament in the next week.
Sharapova has faced criticism from colleagues like former world number one Caroline Wozniacki and former Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard, who feel it is unfair to give a tainted player wildcard entry. The 2004 champions will also find out her fate to enter the French Open on May 15.
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