LONDON: Maria Sharapova will probably have to win 10 matches to claim a second Wimbledon title this year after deciding on Friday not to request a wildcard for the championships.
The 30-year-old returned from a 15-month doping ban last month and has failed to gain a high enough ranking for automatic entry into the 128-strong main draw.
Set to enter the top 200 on Monday, however, she is eligible to play in the qualifying event the week before in Roehampton, where she would need to survive three rounds just to take her place in round one at the All England Club.
Russian Sharapova, the 2004 champion and former world number one, announced the news on her website.
“Because of my improved ranking after the first three tournaments of my return, I will also be playing ...in Roehampton, and will not be requesting a wildcard,” said Sharapova, who has received a wildcard for the Wimbledon warm-up in Birmingham.
Sharapova could have secured a place in the Wimbledon main draw by right had she reached the semi-finals at the Italian Open in Rome, but she withdrew injured during a second-round match against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.
“I have already started getting treatment on the injury I sustained a few days ago in Rome, and will begin my preparation as soon I get better,” the five-time grand slam champion said.
Her decision takes the heat off the Wimbledon wildcard committee which meets on June 20 and could technically still offer her automatic entry into the main draw.
Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2017