Former world no.1 Maria Sharapova is currently taking part in the Italian Open, her third tournament since returning from a 15-month doping ban. The Russian beauty tested positive for the heart drug meldonium at last year's Australian Open and since returning has received wild card entries to Stuttgart, Madrid and Italian Opens.
Sharapova lost in the semi-finals of the Stuttgart Open, second round in Madrid to her rival Eugenie Bouchard and will be hoping for a much better performance at the ongoing Italian Open. She eased past her first round opponent Christina McHale as she won 6-4, 6-2. The win moved her inside the top 200 of the WTA rankings, enough to secure her a qualifying draw for Wimbledon in June.
While her participation in Wimbledon is all but confirmed, even though she has to play a qualifying draw, her participation in the French Open is still not confirmed. Sharapova will need a wild card entry to participate in the French Open this year and she will learn her fate later today in an announcement that will be streamed live on Facebook by the French Federation of Tennis.
The announcement is set to be made 30 minutes before she faces off Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in her second-round match at the Italian Open. While tennis fans are eagerly waiting for the decision, Sharapova does not seem to be too concerned.
"Will I? I don't know how the Wimbledon qualifying works or the rankings — I'm not really aware of that. Listen, winning matches will get me places. So if that's where it got me today, then I will take it. I think maybe you guys assume that I know these things, but I genuinely want to take care of each and every single week, and every single match is a priority for me," Eurosport quoted Sharapova as saying.
While Sharapova is not openly expressing her concern regarding her wild-card entry into the French Open, she admitted that she is determined to get back to the top of women's tennis.
"I certainly have expectations of myself... when you have won big events and you have been No. 1 in the world, you know that feeling. So that feeling ultimately stays inside of you... and you know what you work for," Sharapova said.
"I would love to experience those feelings again. Of course, that is my goal. But as I said, every week is important... I might have not played my best tennis, but I set up an opportunity to play another match and to hopefully improve in that match, and that's what I need."