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Published: 14:56 | 19/5/17

Sharapova to enter Wimbledon qualifying

Maria Sharapova is to enter Wimbledon qualifying as she continues her comeback from a 15-month ban for doping.

The former world number one was handed a two-year ban after testing positive for the drug meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open, but the suspension was reduced to 15 months on appeal and she has had to rely on wildcards in a bid to move up the world rankings.

She was denied a wildcard for the French Open, with tournament officials opting to exclude her as a result of her suspension for doping.

The Lawn Tennis Association accepted her request to play at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham next month but the five-time Grand Slam winner has decided not to opt to enter Wimbledon qualifying rather than request a wildcard.

"A few months ago, I received a wild card offer from Birmingham, one of my most memorable tournaments as a young player. I am so grateful and excited to be playing this event again!" Sharapova said in a statement.

"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 wild card into the main draw.

"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."

Sharapova will have to win three qualifying rounds to earn her place in the main draw.

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