A few days ago things looked rather bleak for Russian tennis ace Maria Sharapova. Her hopes of somehow getting into the next Grand Slam tournament of the year (January’s Australian Open fell within her ban period) were stymied on two fronts. Her first tournament appearance at Stuttgart’s Porsche Grand Prix after the lifting of her ban was promising enough, but she did not advance far enough to qualify for the French Open.

Then any chance of appearing there as a wildcard dried up when the French Tennis Federation refused her. With two Grand Slams passing her by this year, Sharapova needs an in for Wimbledon, and she’ll work her damnedest to get it in the tournament's qualifying rounds.

Setting up for Grand Slam number three

The Wimbledon qualifiers have prospective participants play against one another to win three rounds. Those who make it are added to the tournament’s main draw, 16 spots for men and 12 for women. These qualifiers will take place at the Bank of England Sports Centre within a period from June 26 to June 30, a week before Wimbledon 2017 proper starts on July 3.

Maria Sharapova had won her first Wimbledon title in 2004 when she was but 17 years old. That’s a far cry from her Women’s Tennis Association ranking of 211 the moment her 15-month doping ban had been lifted. Thankfully her first-round victory at the Italian Open last Monday, May 15 shot the Russian back up to the Top 200, enough to allow her a shot for the Wimbledon qualifiers.

The news was shared in a statement on her official website which said, "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."

Preparations for qualifiers

While a number of female tennis players sided with the FTF barring Maria Sharapova from the French open, the WTA, in general, was critical of it.

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Meanwhile, Sharapova decided to no continue with the Italian Open after winning her second round due to claiming an injury with her left thigh. Though continuing with the tournament would have improved her WTA ranking further, she has decided not to take any chances and make sure she was in prime physical shape for when the Wimbledon qualifiers start at the last week of next month.

"I have already started getting treatment for the injury I sustained a few days ago in Rome, and will begin my preparation as soon I get better," Sharapova noted of her early Italian Open exit.