Shara­pova not wor­ried yet about Wim­ble­don wild card

Cape Breton Post - - Sports -

Maria Shara­pova is not yet wor­ried about whether she will be awarded a wild card for Wim­ble­don fol­low­ing her dop­ing ban.

Af­ter mov­ing into the sec­ond round of the Madrid Open on Sun­day, Shara­pova said it’s too early to think about the July tour­na­ment.

“I mean, look, I would love to be in a po­si­tion to com­pete in that event,” she said. “It’s very mean­ing­ful to me. But it’s just too far down the line right now.”

Shara­pova de­feated Mir­jana Lu­cic-Ba­roni of Croa­tia in three sets for her fourth vic­tory since serv­ing a 15month ban for test­ing pos­i­tive for mel­do­nium at last year’s Aus­tralian Open. She was elim­i­nated in the semi­fi­nals in Stuttgart last month in her first tour­na­ment since the ban.

“I feel like I’m like a bro­ken­record player, but th­ese tour­na­ments are re­ally im­por­tant,” Shara­pova said. “The match play that I have, get­ting my­self in th­ese sit­u­a­tions, get­ting out of them, will ul­ti­mately help me for those big events whether I’m in there or not.”

Shara­pova, who is also ex­pected to play in Rome later this month, has been play­ing on wild-card en­tries be­cause she lost her rank­ing fol­low­ing the dop­ing sus­pen­sion.

The de­ci­sion on her wild card for Wim­ble­don may not come un­til June 20, ac­cord­ing to tour­na­ment of­fi­cials. The five-time Grand Slam cham­pion and for­mer top-ranked player will know on May 16 if she will be able to com­pete on a wild card in the French Open, which starts May 22.

A win in the sec­ond round in Madrid against Cana­dian Eu­ge­nie Bouchard, one of the most out­spo­ken play­ers against Shara­pova’s re­turn to ten­nis, could be enough to let the Rus­sian qual­ify for Wim­ble­don on points, with­out need­ing a wild card. Bouchard, who called Shara­pova “a cheater” and said she should be banned for life from ten­nis, was a fi­nal­ist in Wim­ble­don in 2014. Shara­pova won the 2004 ti­tle in Wim­ble­don.

Shara­pova said play­ing as many matches as pos­si­ble is the most im­por­tant thing for her at the moment.

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