Maria Sharapova is to make her comeback to tennis at the Mallorca Open.
The former world number 1 hasn't played due to a shoulder injury since her last-16 exit in St. Petersburg in February. With the Mallorca Open being played on grass, it offers Sharapova the ideal preparation for Wimbledon.
She'll be part of a strong field in Mallorca, with French Open winner Ashleigh Barty in the draw as well as the US sensation from Roland-Garros, Amanda Anisimova.
Sharapova's shoulder issues date back to last summer, and ultimately required her to undergo surgery. The five-time Grand Slam-winner said at the time, "For ten weeks post US Open, I focused on getting my rotator cuff and scapula strong to support a surgically repaired fraying tendon and a small labrum tear. Although my shoulder got strong, it didn't help the pain on impact."
She had hoped to make her return a few weeks after her surgery, but Sharapova hasn't struck a ball in anger since February.
Speaking of her wildcard inclusion, Sharapova says, "I am happy to announce that I will be accepting the wild card to play the Mallorca Open. Thank you to the tournament for the opportunity and to all my amazing fans for the support in the last four months”.
Venus Williams is another former Wimbledon champion taking preparation for this year's fortnight at SW19 seriously. The five-time singles champion is to play a warm-up event for the first time since 2011.
Williams will make her debut at the WTA event in Birmimgham, with the 38-year old saying, "I always love playing on grass in front of British crowds and have heard wonderful things about the tournament". She joins a strong field alongside world number 1 Naomi Osaka, defending champion Petra Kvitova and British number 1, Jo Konta. The elder Williams sister maintains hope of a first title since 2016, which would bring her to 50 career titles.