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Russian tennis star Sharapova getting ready for Wimbledon qualifiers

May 19, 16:34 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Sharapova’s performance at the tournament in Stuttgart returned her to the WTA rankings, from which she was excluded last October

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© EPA/GIORGIO ONORATI

MOSCOW, May 19. /TASS/. Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova announced on Friday her decision of taking part in the qualifying series of the Wimbledon tournament instead of waiting for a wildcard.

"A few months ago, I received a wild card offer from Birmingham, one of my most memorable tournaments as a young player," Sharapova was quoted as saying by her official website. "I am so grateful and excited to be playing at this event again!"

"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," she added.

Earlier in the week, Sharapova withdrew from the second-round match of the Italian Open during the game against Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. She had come from a set down to lead Lucic-Baroni 4-6, 6-3, 2-1, but was forced to pull out from in third set sustaining an injury to the left leg.

"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 announced today.

After sitting out a provisional 15-month suspension, Sharapova, 30, made an impressive comeback last month at the tennis tournament in Stuttgart knocking out all of her opponents up to the semifinals.

Sharapova’s performance at the tournament in Stuttgart returned her to the WTA rankings, from which she was excluded last October.

Although having no place in the WTA rankings earlier in the year due to the previously imposed suspension, the world’s former No. 1 Sharapova was granted wildcards for tennis tournaments in Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome.

The tennis player was initially set to serve a two-year suspension for violating anti-doping regulations starting January 26, 2016. However, the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled on October 4, 2016 to cut her suspension term from 24 to 15 months.

Early last year, Sharapova announced that doping tests revealed the presence of the banned performance enhancing drug, meldonium, in her body. Following the announcement, the tennis star was provisionally suspended from all tennis-related activities, including the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.

Sharapova is Russia’s most accomplished tennis player who has won a total of five Grand Slam tournaments, namely the Australian Open in 2008, the French Open in 2012 and 2014, Wimbledon in 2004 and the US Open in 2006.

She also clinched the silver in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and was the 2008 Federations Cup champion.

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