Tennis: No British wildcard offers for Sharapova

Maria Sharapova at the Vanity Fair Party on Feb 26, 2017.
Maria Sharapova at the Vanity Fair Party on Feb 26, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON • The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) has insisted that no wildcard offers have been made to Maria Sharapova after her agent Max Eisenbud claimed that "every" Women's Tennis Association (WTA) tournament had contacted him.

As she prepares for her return from a 15-month doping suspension on April 26, Sharapova - who has lost her world ranking - has already been awarded places in tournaments in Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome.

Depending on her performances, a wild card may be required if she wishes to compete in the British grass-court events in Nottingham, Birmingham and Eastbourne.

Eisenbud, the vice-president of tennis at IMG, said on Wednesday that there had been no shortage of interest from tournaments. "Every WTA tournament called me, every single one," he told CNN.

However, the LTA, which runs the series of pre-Wimbledon tournaments in the UK, said: "We have not made any offer, formally or proactively, to any player with regard to our summer grass-court events."

The All England Club will wait to see if Sharapova qualifies by right for Wimbledon on the entry deadline of May 22 rather than making a judgment in advance.

THE TIMES, LONDON, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 17, 2017, with the headline 'No British wildcard offers for Sharapova'. Print Edition | Subscribe