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Andy Murray expects Sharapova to be given Wimbledon wildcard if needed

The world number one reckons the returning Russian will be there one way or another.

The last time Sharapova competed at Wimbledon was 2015.
The last time Sharapova competed at Wimbledon was 2015.
Image: Dubreuil Corinne

WORLD NUMBER ONE Andy Murray has said that he expects Wimbledon will grant Maria Sharapova a wildcard if she fails to qualify directly for the tournament.

The Russian returned to action last week following a 15-month doping ban, and reached the semi-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart.

She was beaten by French opposition and eventual runner-up Kristina Mladenovic in the last four, and subsequently Sharapova now has a ranking of 262.

The 30-year-old former world number one has two more definite tournaments in Madrid and Rome — which have both awarded her wildcards — before the deadline for outright Wimbledon qualification.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Murray believes that she should gather enough points, but expects that she will be handed a lifeline if she doesn’t make the cut.

“There might not even be a decision to be made because she might be in the main draw after Madrid or Rome,” he told the media at the launch of next month’s Queen’s tournament on Tuesday.

“I think there’s a good chance Wimbledon would give her one to get into qualifiers. I’m not sure what they will do but I’m sure they are hoping they don’t have to make the decision.

Spain: Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell World number one Andy Murray. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

“There’s a good chance that she can gets in by right, which I’m sure is what she’s hoping for and that’s what Wimbledon would be hoping for.”

Murray was impressed by her returning performances, and believes she should make it off her own back but Wimbledon and the French Open can do “whatever they want” regarding wildcards.

“There is something to be said for working your way back up,” he continued though.

To qualify directly for Wimbledon, her ranking would need to be closer to the top 200.

Her fate for the French Open is still up in the air. Sharapova needed to reach the final in Stuttgart to make the top 200 and ultimately be eligible for qualification.

The French tennis federation are expected to announce its decision on a potential wildcard on 16 May.

Sharapova was crowned Wimbledon champion at the age of 17 back in 2004.

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Emma Duffy

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