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Maria Sharapova set to return to action in Mallorca: Former world No. 1 to play her first tournament in four months after recovering from a shoulder injury

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 10 Jun 2019
  • Maria Sharapova will return to action for the first time in four months at the Mallorca Open, live from 17-23 June
  • Sharapova has been sidelined by a shoulder injury since February
  • Venus Williams has also accepted a wildcard to play in Birmingham for the first time in the corresponding week
Maria Sharapova (PA Sport)

Former world No. 1, Maria Sharapova will return to action for the first time in four months at Mallorca Open, after accepting a wildcard into the grass-court tournament.

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The pre-Wimbledon warm-up event, which holds from 17-23 June, will be Sharapova's first tournament since she withdrew from a second round meeting with Daria Kasatkina at the St. Petersburg Open in February due to a long standing shoulder injury.

Sharapova underwent minor surgery on the shoulder later that month, with the Russian saying at the time that the procedure will take a few weeks to heal, but she ended up missing the entire clay court season.

While announcing her withdrawal from Roland Garros, the five-time champion revealed that she had returned to training, and she has now confirmed that she will make her competitive return on the grass of Mallorca from 17 June. 

“I'm very happy... to announce that I'm going to accept the wild card to play the Mallorca Open," said the Russian, who has been practising in Mallorca. "I want to thank the tournament for the opportunity it gives me and all my incredible fans who have been supporting me in recent months."

Sharapova had made a decent start to 2019, reaching the quarter finals in Shenzhen and the fourth round at the Australian Open, beating then defending champion, Caroline Wozniacki before falling to Ashleigh Barty in the Round of 16. The Russian maintained a top-30 ranking up until the opening middle of May, despite her inactivity, but she has since fallen off, and is currently ranked 86th in the world after losing points she had accrued from a fine clay-court campaign in 2018.  She reached quarter finals in Madrid and Roland Garros, either side of a semi-final in Rome last season.

The Mallorca draw also features Grand Slam champions, Angelique Kerber and Victoria Azarenka, while former top-ten players, Caroline Garcia and Belinda Bencic have also committed to playing the tournament.

Meanwhile, another former world No. 1, Venus Williams will compete at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham for the first time in her career after accepting a wildcard into the tournament.

"I'm really excited to be playing in Birmingham for the first time. I always love playing on grass in front of British crowds and have heard wonderful things about the tournament", Williams said.

The American’s participation in the Birmingham meet will be just the fourth time she's played a pre-Wimbledon warm-up tournament through her illustrious career, and the first outside Eastbourne, where she featured in 1997, 1998 and 2011. The five-time Wimbledon champion has not won a tour-level grass-court title outside the All England Club.

Williams will attempt to win her 50th career title in Birmingham, and her first since February 2016. The 38-year-old American has featured in just six tournaments this year, putting together a 12-6 record, with her best results being quarter finals at Indian Wells and Auckland, while she made the Round of 16 in Miami and Rome. She suffered an opening round defeat to Elina Svitolina at Roland Garros in her most recent outing.

Williams will join a loaded field in Birmingham, with world No. 1, Naomi Osaka, world No. 2 and French Open champion, Ashleigh Barty, British No. 1, Johanna Konta and two-time Wimbledon champion, Petra Kvitova, Elina Svitolina and Madison Keys all set to feature.

2017 Wimbledon winner, Garbine Muguruza has withdrawn due to a left leg injury.

The Nature Valley Classic is live from Birmingham from 17-23 June.


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Maria Sharapova set to return to action in Mallorca: Former world No. 1 to play her first tournament in four months after recovering from a shoulder injury

Maria Sharapova will return to action for the first time since February at this month's Mallorca Open after recovering from shoulder injury. The Mallorca Open is live from 17-23 June.

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