Sharapova's Wimbledon record could aid wildcard chances


Maria Sharapova's record at Wimbledon could enhance her chances of securing a wildcard for the third grand slam of the year, All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) chairman Philip Brook has hinted.

Sharapova reappeared in the WTA rankings at number 262 this week after reaching the semi-finals of the Stuttgart Open on her comeback following a 15-month ban for failing a drugs test.

A host of the five-time grand slam champion's fellow professionals have expressed their disapproval at the Russian being handed a wildcard for the Premier-level event in Germany last week, as well as upcoming tournaments in Madrid in Rome.

Sharapova will discover on May 16 whether she will be given a wildcard for the French Open and must return to the top 100 in the rankings by May 22 to guarantee a spot in the main draw for Wimbledon.

Brook said a meeting will take place on June 20 to discuss wildcard applications for the SW19 showpiece and stated that there will be no special treatment for Sharapova if she applies, but suggested that the 2004 champion's exploits in years gone by could work in her favour.

"We have a long-standing and tried-and-tested process," said Brook. "That process is that in the week before qualifying we have a meeting of our tennis sub-committee to discuss all applications and this year is no different.

"We will wait to see if Maria applies for a wildcard and if so, we will consider her case alongside everyone else's. Does the club have a policy on convicted doping offenders? No. It is done on a case-by-case basis."

He added: "There are a number of factors taken into account which historically include looking at British players who we think might add interest to the Championships.

"We take a look at who has done well in the lead-up tournaments, those are important to us so we have in the past rewarded success in some of these tournaments by awarding a wildcard.

"And we will also consider what might add interest to the tournament, so if someone had a very strong playing record here at Wimbledon, that would be a factor in our consideration as well."