Maria Sharapova will battle for Wimbledon qualification after turning down wildcard

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Maria Sharapova was granted a wildcard to enter the Stuttgart Open in March. The former world number one was given permission to enter the competition following her 15-month doping ban of which started two days before the conclusion of her suspension, the BBC reports.

The decision to allow her to join didn’t go down well with fans and fellow players who felt the decision to let her miss the opening stages on top of the punishment she received was unfair.Sharapova managed to reach the semi-final stage before bowing out at the hands of Kristina Mladenovic.

Following her exit, she was then allowed to play in the Madrid Open but could only reach the round of 32 stage. This came before the Russian was denied entry into the French Open but was granted permission to play at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham next month.

Most recently, Sharapova retired from her Italian Open second-round match on Tuesday through injury but earned enough points to enter the top 200 and gain entry into the qualifying tournament for Wimbledon.

Had she reached the semi-final, she would have made the draw automatically but fell short. The only alternative was to appeal for another controversial wildcard entry.

However, Sharapova confirmed in a statement on her website that she has opted to earn her spot via the qualifying stages of which she will have to progress through three rounds in order to book her place in the main draw:

"Because of my improved ranking after the first three tournaments of my return, I will also be playing the qualifying of Wimbledon in Roehampton, and will not be requesting a wildcard into the main draw, she said.

After the uproar caused when she was granted entry via the wildcard system in Stuttgart last month, choosing to earn her place before the main stage will undoubtedly cause less of a stir this time around.

At the moment, though, Sharapova’s focus will be to regain full fitness after picking up a thigh injury earlier in the week.

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Rafael Nadal
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Maria Sharapova
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