Australian Open | Nadal and Medvedev line up for Aussie final.

The Australian Open, the first grand slam of the season, is down to the last two, the man who from the start, has been the title favourite, and the only man who has previously won the event who in turn, if successful, could rewrite the tennis history books.

Australian Open | Can Barty fulfil her promise?

Coming into the Australian Open, Ash Barty was always the favourite for the title, but pulling it off involves winning 7 matches on the trot over the fortnight against some of the world’s best and, on Saturday, she has to get past the second woman left standing at...

Australian Open | TA cleans up its act

Tennis Australia is working on brushing up its environmental image by announcing this week that it has teamed up with a game-changing Australian enviro-tech startup to reduce plastic bottle waste at the Australian Open, and ending its controversial partnership with...

Australian Open | Hewett beaten in final

Alfie Hewett’s bid to complete this year’s Australian Open as men’s singles and men’s doubles champion ended in a gallant three-set loss on Thursday as world No.1 Shingo Kunieda of Japan regained the title after a 7-5 3-6 6-2 win

Tokyo | Nishikori undergoes hip surgery

Kei Nishikori underwent arthroscopic left hip surgery on Tuesday, which will keep him off the men’s tour for about six months.

Australian Open | Brilliant Barty to meet Collins in AO final

If Ash Barty feared Madison Keys so close to reaching her goal, there was no sign of it at the Australian Open on Thursday evening, when the World No 1 powered past the American, 6-1 6-3, to arrive at her pre-ordained place in the final, the first Aussie to do so...

Australian Open | Medvedev and Tsitsipas will face each other in the semis

The expected semi-final clash between Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas is now on with the pair scheduled to meet on Friday after a day’s break having both negotiated their respective ways past tough quarter-final opponents.

Australian Open | Hewett and Reid make wheelchair history

Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid secured their latest chapter in the tennis history books on Wednesday at the Australian Open when they won their third successive Australian Open men’s wheelchair doubles title, extending their tally of consecutive Grand Slam titles...

Australian Open | Swiatek and Collins outlast giant-killers to meet in semi-final

Iga Swiatek took 3 hours to figure out how to beat the resilient Kaia Kanepi at the Australian Open on Wednesday, while Danielle Collins figured out tricky Alizé Cornet rather more quickly, and the two will now meet in their first semi-final at Melbourne Park on...

Australian Open | Nadal and Berrettini battle into the AO semis

The first semi-final at this year’s Australian Open will feature Rafa Nadal and Matteo Berrettini, the sixth and seventh seed in Melbourne respectively, after both players survived five set quarter-final matches having led their opponents by two-sets to love.
Tennis News, Tennis Results, Live Tennis Scores & Interviews

Maria Sharapova will be offered Birmingham wildcard

Maria Sharapova will be offered a wildcard into next month’s Aegon Classic in Birmingham.
Sources told BBC Sport that discussions between Sharapova’s team and the Lawn Tennis Association are under way.

We are currently in the process of deciding which players will receive wildcards for our summer season grass court tournaments LTA

The move has the blessing of outgoing LTA chief executive Michael Downey.

Asked about the issue on Tuesday, Andy Murray said: “They’ve obviously done what they think is right for that event and maybe haven’t thought as much about the wider implications of it.”

Sharapova has not played a Wimbledon warm-up event since she reached the final in Birmingham in 2010.

Her presence in the field is likely to boost ticket sales at a tournament that is perpetually overshadowed by the ATP tournament at The Queen’s Club in the same week. Tickets are still available for all days of the tournament which runs from 19-25 June.

The LTA will expect criticism for their decision, which appears to have been made purely on commercial grounds.

Britons Murray and Heather Watson are just two players who have expressed their uneasiness about the quantity of wildcards being offered to Sharapova since she returned from a 15-month ban for taking meldonium.

“I’ve spoken about this at length pretty much for 15 months now,” added Murray, speaking after his opening win in Madrid on Tuesday.

“I feel like I’ve made myself pretty clear how I felt about that. I do think the tournaments clearly are going to do what they think is going to sell the most tickets, give them the most coverage, get the most people into watch.

“I’m sure the LTA saw the coverage that was given to last night’s match and was given to Maria’s run in Stuttgart as well – the amount of media that were over there covering it – and think that’s what’s best for the tournament in Birmingham. But I’m sure it split a lot of opinion.

“I’m sure the discussions about whether to give it or not were long and I’m sure there were some disagreements.”

Watson, who will receive a wildcard of her own into the Birmingham draw, said during March’s Miami Open that from “a moral standpoint you should have to work your way back up if you’ve been on a ban”.

There is unlikely to be swift confirmation that Sharapova will play in Birmingham, where she won the title in both 2004 and 2005. That is because all eyes are currently on Roland Garros, which will announce next Tuesday whether they are to offer Sharapova a wildcard for either qualifying or the main draw of the French Open.

That, in turn, will have implications for how much Sharapova wishes to play on the grass. The five-time Grand Slam champion has already been offered a wildcard into the event in the Dutch town of Rosmalen in the week after the French Open.

Sharapova’s participation in the rival Nottingham tournament should not be completely ruled out if she loses early in Paris, or a French Open invitation fails to materialise.

The All England Club will not meet to finalise their wildcards until 20 June, but despite her second-round defeat by Eugenie Bouchard in Madrid, Sharapova can still gain direct entry into Wimbledon by reaching the semi-finals in Rome next week.

Johanna Konta, Garbine Muguruza, Agnieszka Radwanska and Simona Halep headline the entry list in Birmingham, which will be confirmed later this week.

“We are currently in the process of deciding which players will receive wildcards for our summer season grass court tournaments” an LTA spokesman told the BBC.

“It’s a carefully considered process which happens at this time every year. We will announce the names of wild card recipients in due course, before the start of each tournament.”

By Russell Fuller
BBC tennis correspondent



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.