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Wimbledon 2017, Women's Singles Preview: Opportunity galore for unheralded players in absence of Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova

Wimbledon 2017, Women's Singles Preview: Opportunity galore for unheralded players in absence of Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova

Having stepped away from the court as she waits to become a mother in September, Williams, who won Wimbledon in 2015 and 2016, has created a power vacuum at the top that Sharapova was expected to fill when the Russian returned from her doping suspension.

Wimbledon 2017: With Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova out, race for women's title more wide-open

Wimbledon 2017: With Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova out, race for women's title more wide-open

In the absence of American great Williams, who has 23 Grand Slam titles on her CV, and the headline-grabbing Sharapova, women`s tennis has an undeniable lack of star power heading into Wimbledon, which gets underway on Monday.

Maria Sharapova receives invite to play at WTA Stanford tournament

Maria Sharapova receives invite to play at WTA Stanford tournament

Sharapova`s comeback from a 15-month doping ban will include a stop at Stanford University for the July 31-August 6 event, organizers announced on Wednesday.

Injured Maria Sharapova withdraws from Wimbledon 2017

Injured Maria Sharapova withdraws from Wimbledon 2017

The 30-year-old Russian, who was champion at the All England Club in 2004, was due to play in the qualifying event in the hope of making the main draw.

French Open 2017 will miss tennis' terrific trio

Old records will be shattered, upsets will be caused and new stars will rise, still, with Federer, Serena and Sharapova missing, French Open will not be the same this year.

French Open 2017, Women's Singles Preview: Missing stars let Roland Garros pretenders dream

French Open 2017, Women's Singles Preview: Missing stars let Roland Garros pretenders dream

Simona Halep, the 2014 runner-up, established herself as arguably the leading challenger by winning the Madrid Open before reaching the Rome final, but an ankle injury has cast doubt over her status.

Indian athlete caught with Maria Sharapova drug; embarrassed AFI to seek details from coaches

Indian athlete caught with Maria Sharapova drug; embarrassed AFI to seek details from coaches

The yet-to-be-named athlete was suspended by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) after being caught with meldonium at the National Institute of Sports in Patiala.

French Open organisers unfazed with absence of stars Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova

French Open organisers unfazed with absence of stars Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova

The champion in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, Nadal, now 30, was written off when he lost to Novak Djokovic in the 2015 quarter-finals, ending a 39-match win streak in Paris since his shock defeat to Robin Soderling in 2009.

Wimbledon 2017: Maria Sharapova doesn't want wildcards, says will go through qualifying rigours

Wimbledon 2017: Maria Sharapova doesn't want wildcards, says will go through qualifying rigours

"Because of my improved ranking after the first three tournaments of my return, I will also be playing the qualifying of Wimbledon in Roehampton, and will not be requesting a wildcard into the main draw," said Sharapova on her website.

Maria Sharapova gets wildcard for Wimbledon warm-up tournament in Birmingham

Maria Sharapova gets wildcard for Wimbledon warm-up tournament in Birmingham

Former world number one Maria Sharapova has been handed a wildcard to the Wimbledon warm-up tournament in Birmingham in June, Britain's Lawn Tennis Association said on Thursday.

Maria Sharapova's sponsor backs French Open snub, blames WADA

Maria Sharapova's sponsor backs French Open snub, blames WADA

Sharapova secured a spot in the qualifying draw for Wimbledon by meeting ranking criteria but will find out if she receives a wildcard for the main draw on June 20.

Maria Sharapova vows to 'rise up again' after French Open snub

Maria Sharapova vows to 'rise up again' after French Open snub

"If this is what it takes to rise up again, then I am in it all the way, everyday," Sharapova wrote on Twitter, in her first remarks on her snub.

Rome Masters: Maria Sharapova pulls out due to thigh injury, soon after French Open snub

Rome Masters: Maria Sharapova pulls out due to thigh injury, soon after French Open snub

While Sharapova will at least have a chance to qualify for Wimbledon, the French Open will be without the twice former winner as well as Roger Federer and the pregnant Serena Williams.

French Open: Maria Sharapova denied wild card at Roland Garros by French Tennis Federation

French Open: Maria Sharapova denied wild card at Roland Garros by French Tennis Federation

The five-time Grand Slam champion was banned for two years for using meldonium, with the penalty later reduced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport which ruled she was not an intentional doper.

Two-time champion Maria Sharapova denied French Open wild card

Two-time champion Maria Sharapova denied French Open wild card

The former world number one, who only returned from a 15-month doping ban last month, will sit out the French Open, which she won in 2012 and 2014, for the second year in a row.

Maria Sharapova guaranteed spot in Wimbledon 2017 with first-round victory at Italian Open

Maria Sharapova guaranteed spot in Wimbledon 2017 with first-round victory at Italian Open

The Russian former world number one, given a wildcard to compete in Rome after returning from a 15-month doping ban, dropped serve three times in a scrappy opening set, but won 6-4 6-2 to reach round two.

Players need to lay off Maria Sharapova, says Martina Navratilova

Players need to lay off Maria Sharapova, says Martina Navratilova

Sharapova`s comeback has garnered widespread interest with current and former players offering their opinions on the 30-year-old.

Madrid Open: After war of words, Eugenie Bouchard stuns Maria Sharapova in thriller

Madrid Open: After war of words, Eugenie Bouchard stuns Maria Sharapova in thriller

The pair endured a brief, awkward handshake after Bouchard claimed a place in the third round against top seed Angelique Kerber, who she beat on her way to the Wimbledon final in 2014.

My tennis will do the talking, Maria Sharapova warns Eugenie Bouchard

My tennis will do the talking, Maria Sharapova warns Eugenie Bouchard

Bouchard labelled the Russian "a cheater" last week and suggested Sharapova should have been kicked out of tennis for life rather than welcomed back with a series of wildcards for high-profile tournaments.