Wimbledon keeps Sharapova guessing on wildcard entry
Maria Sharapova will have to wait until June 20 to find out if she will get a wild card to play at Wimbledon.
On that day the tournament’s organisers will meet to decide what they will do.
Sharapova, who returned last week after a 15-month ban for an anti-doping violation, could still climb high enough in the WTA rankings to earn a spot in the main draw or Wimbledon qualifying tournament at Roehampton.
“We have a long-standing tried and tested process (for awarding wildcards) in the week before qualifying and this year is no different,” All England Club chairman Philip Brook said at a news conference on Wednesday.
“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 reached the semi-finals in Stuttgart last week as a wildcard entrant, playing her first tournament since the 2016 Australian Open. Her world ranking rose to 262.
The cut-off date to enter Wimbledon’s main draw is May 22, the day after the conclusion of the Rome tournament in which Sharapova has been handed another wildcard.
The cut-off for entry to the qualifying event is June 5.
If Sharapova enjoys a good performance in Rome and in Madrid, where she also received a wildcard, her ranking could get hih enought to enter Wimbledon with wildcard.
Several players, including Caroline Wozniacki and Eugenie Bouchard, have been highly critical of tournament organizers handing five-times grand slam champion Sharapova wildcards.
While at pains to say any application by Sharapova for wildcard would be treated like any other, Brook hinted that reputation could influence the committee which includes himself, Wimbledon tournament referee Andrew Jarrett and former British number one Tim Henman.
“We look at who has done well in the lead-up tournaments,” he said.
“We will also consider what might add interest to the tournament. If someone has a strong record at Wimbledon that would be taken into consideration.”
Brook also suggested Sharapova’s case could be strengthened if she played at events in Nottingham, Birmingham or Eastbourne.
“We do appreciate players who play in grasscourt tournaments in the build-up to Wimbledon and success in those, for a number of years now, had been rewarded (with wildcards).”
Sharapova is also waiting for a wildcard for the French Open. A decision on that is expected on May 16.