The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) has announced that five-time Grand Slam Winner, Maria Sharapova will be joining the star-studded line-up at the Aegon Classic Birmingham.
The former world number one has recently came back from a 15-month drugs ban. The Court of Arbitration for Sport tested her positive for heart disease drug meldonium but said she is not an “intentional doper”. The ban had a massive effect on her world ranking, sadly going from number 1 to 211.
Maria is a national treasure as she won a Silver medal for Russia at the 2012 London Olympics.
The decision to make her a wildcard for the Aegon Classic Birmingham was controversial but welcomed by the majority of fans and players in the tennis community.
Former Chief executive, Michael Downey, said “Maria has served her ban in full and is now back playing high-quality tennis. There’s always a lot of debate about who we give wildcards to. Now Maria has earned direct entry into Wimbledon qualifying, we want to give British tennis fans the chance to see her compete on grass in Britain beforehand.”
Two-time Aegon Classic winner Sharapova said: “I am really excited to be coming back to Birmingham this year to play on the grass as part of my build-up to Wimbledon and I thank the LTA for this opportunity.”
She will be joined in Birmingham by world number one Angelique Kerber, Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep, Agnieszka Radwanska and British number one Johanna Konta.
Birmingham Classic Hospitality
Eventmasters are delighted to be able to offer official premium Birmingham Classic Hospitality packages at this year’s event.