Maria Sharapova is dominating the headlines in tennis news this week for all the wrong reasons. With so much controversy surrounding her recent return to tennis her loss to Eugenie Bouchard in Madrid on Monday, was an unwelcome one for the Russian, and now she has a wildcard!
It has been reported that discussions have taken place between the Tennis Association and the team that represents Maria Sharapova. She will be offered a wildcard for the Aegon Classic in Birmingham. Including the talented player in the warm up events for Wimbledon is something that has been approved by chief executive of the LTA Michael Downey.
It is hoped that her inclusion in the event will increase the sale of tickets to a competition that is usually side-lined by fans in favour of Queens. There will undoubtedly be a backlash because of the move that has been made to include Sharapova in the competition. Plenty of professionals have had their say and openly voiced their opinions about the high number of wildcards being offered to Sharapova after a ban that meant she was out of the game for 15 months. Both Andy Murray and Heather Watson are two high profile individuals that have expressed concerns.
Heather Watson was quoted as having the opinion that anyone should have to work their way back up after having had a ban. She too has been granted a wild card, however she is far from in the same boat as her fellow contestant.
We don’t yet know if the wildcard will be accepted by Sharapova who will be waiting to find out if she is offered the same opportunities at the French Open. That announcement is due next Tuesday.
The All England Lawn Tennis Association are expected to finalise their wild cards in June, However Sharapova could still earn a place at Wimbledon by playing well in Rome.
Johanna Konta, Garbine Muguruza, Agnieszka Radwanska and Simona Halep are all included on the entry list in Birmingham, set to be officially confirmed later this week.
Author Lisa Baldwin
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