Maria Sharapova on Sunday evening stated her injury picked up in Rome has not healed enough and has thus ruled her out of the grasscourt season including the Wimbledon qualifiers. The Russian picked up a thigh injury in Rome and that would further hamper her bid to return successfully to the tour following her 15-month doping ban.
“After an additional scan, the muscle tear that I sustained in Rome will unfortunately not allow me to compete in the grass court tournaments I was scheduled to play,” she said in a statement. “I will continue to work on my recovery and my next scheduled tournament is in Stanford from July 31.” Sharapova, 30, was champion at Wimbledon in 2004 and was set to play the qualifying rounds after failing to get the required points and ranking for the main draw. She was denied a French Open wildcard on her return with her current ranking at 178.
Sharapova was initially banned for two years for using meldonium, with the penalty later reduced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which ruled she was not an intentional doper. Thereafter she returned to competition at the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart where she reached the semi-finals. Then she played in Madrid and progressed to the last-32. In Rome, the same day that she was denied a French Open wildcard, she lost and injured herself to be sidelined for a second Grand Slam running.
Sharapova didn’t request for a wildcard from the All England Club after the snub from French authorities. But she was still handed a wildcard for the
WTA grasscourt event in Birmingham later this month, a key warm-up for Wimbledon.
“I want to thank the LTA (Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association) for their amazing support on my return and providing me with a Birmingham wild card, a tournament which I hope many of you will be able to attend,” Sharapova added in her statement. “I look forward to meeting you there next year.”
With her decision to skip Wimbledon, Sharapova has once again left her fate at playing in a Grand Slam – next one at US Open – in the hands of the organisers. She will hope the USTA decide differently for the tournament she won in 2006.
Only two weeks ago, it was revealed that the qualifying rounds at Wimbledon would be broadcast live and ticketed for the very time in the tournament’s history. The organisers, however, denied that it was done due to peaked interest in Sharapova’s return but part of several “long-planned” changes.