Sharapova set for wildcard entry in Birmingham

Sharapova eases past Makarova into Stuttgart quarters

Maria Sharapova set for wildcard entry in Aegon Classic

Maria Sharapova is set for an appearance in Birmingham.

Sharapova has recently completed a 15-month drugs ban after testing positive for meldonium and has been handed entries to several tournaments since her return.

The five-time Grand Slam victor Sharapova reached the Stuttgart Grand Prix semifinals last month in her first tournament since being banned but lost 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 to Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in the second round of the Madrid Open on Monday.

According to The Times, the Russian will be given a space at the tournament, being held at the Edgbaston Priory Club between June 17 and 25, as the organisers, the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), will give her one of the four wildcard slots available.

Sharapova initially received a two-year ban following the test taken at the 2016 Australian Open in Melbourne, but this was reduced following a successful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Andy Murray and Heather Watson, who herself will need a wild card into the tournament, have been two players to publicly express the view that doping offenders should not be given a helping hand on their return. She added: "It just seems a bit easy".

An LTA spokesman said: "We are now in the process of deciding which players will receive wild cards for our summer season grass court tournaments".

When asked by insidethegames, LTA officials did not confirm if Sharapova would be receiving a wildcard, saying a final decision has not been made yet.

"It's a carefully considered process which happens at this time of year".

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