LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 03: Maria Sharapova of Russia returns a shot in her Ladies’ Singles Third Round match against Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania during day five of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 3, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

As Maria Sharapova continues her comeback after a 15-month doping ban, she’ll be attempting to quplift for Wimbledon next month. And ESPN has announced that it will stream the qualifying tournament in June on ESPN3 through the WatchESPN app with all-day coverage. It begins on Monday, June 26 and lasts through Thursday, June 29. Depending on breaking news and how far Sharapova advances, there is the potential for matches to carried on TV

Four matches per day will carried on ESPN3. This marks the first time that television coverage will be produced for the Wimbledon qualifying tournament. The All England Lawn Tennis Club will produce the coverage and hire the announcers.

For ESPN, it’s the first time that it will carry Wimbledon qualifying and have constant coverage. If Sharapova is to advance, she’ll have to advance through three rounds to get one of the 12 draws that are set aside for qualifiers.

But if Sharapova doesn’t win three rounds to qualify, let’s say she loses in the final round, she still can get through to the main draw if an already seeded player withdraws during qualifying. Wimbledon calls it a “lucky loser,” however, it has to be drawn by lot rather than by a selection.

So ESPN can have its fill of Sharapova during the qualification process and hopes that she will advance into the main draw so it has a star on the women’s side to promote during the main fortnight.


About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.