Sharapova in line for wildcard entry to Aegon Classic

Reports have revealed that Maria Sharapova will likely receive a wildcard entry to the Aegon Classic in Birmingham next month.

A report carried by the BBC indicated that discussions are underway between the management team of the five-time grand slam champion and the Lawn Tennis Association. 

Sharapova has endured much criticism from tennis fans and players alike following her red carpet return to the world of professional tennis after serving a 15-month doping ban.

The Russian superstar is a two-time winner of the grass-court event, arguably greasing the wheels for a wildcard entry.

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

"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."

Meanwhile, world number one Andy Murray says the LTA has a tough decision to make. 

"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," said the Scot.

"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."

Sharapova was recently bundled out of the Madrid Open – where she competed due to a wildcard – in the second round by an inspired Eugenie Bouchard, who has also been outspoken against Sharapova’s supposed preferential treatment.