LONDON - Maria Sharapova begins her comeback in Germany on Wednesday, and will play three tournaments in the next four weeks that could get her into Wimbledon: the Stuttgart Grand Prix, the Madrid Open and the Italian Open . . .
Her first target, though, is to gain a foothold in the qualifying for the French Open, regardless of whether they offer her a wildcard on the expected decision day of May 15.
She has already missed the cut-off date for the Roland Garros main draw, but can gain the necessary ranking points to make the qualifying if she reaches the final this week in Stuttgart.
To guarantee a place in Wimbledon qualifying (regardless of a wildcard decision) she would need around 260 points in the coming three events, and probably just over 600 to make the main draw.
Making the Stuttgart quarter-finals offers 100 points, with 185 for the semis. The runner-up gains 305 points and the winner 470. Madrid and Rome offer more points — the Madrid champion gets 1,000, for example.
The bottom line is that Sharapova probably needs to win six or seven matches to guarantee herself a place in the Wimbledon main draw.
Because the points gradient becomes steeper as a tournament progresses, it will be much more useful for her to have a deep run in one event, rather than spreading those wins evenly across all three.
When it comes to Wimbledon qualifying, the cut-off is four weeks before the event starts, so she could add an extra tournament in the week before Roland Garros if she was close to the 260 points or so needed.
This place 😍 pic.twitter.com/FPUkVav4Ut