Sharapova in­vited to pre-Wim­ble­don event

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS -

BIRM­ING­HAM, ENG­LAND — Maria Sharapova has been granted a wild card to play in the pre-Wim­ble­don tour­na­ment in Birm­ing­ham, two days af­ter she was re­jected by the French Open be­cause of her re­cent dop­ing ban.

Bri­tish Lawn Ten­nis As­so­ci­a­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Downey says Sharapova com­mit­ted to the Ae­gon Clas­sic for this year and next year in re­turn for a wild card.

Downey says “this wasn’t a de­ci­sion we took lightly and we rec­og­nize not ev­ery­one will agree with it, how­ever Maria has served her ban in full and is now back play­ing high-qual­ity ten­nis.”

The Ae­gon Clas­sic be­gins on June 19, two weeks be­fore Wim­ble­don.

Sharapova was banned for 15 months af­ter test­ing pos­i­tive for heart dis­ease drug mel­do­nium.

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