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Maria is 133 in the live rankings. Does it mean that she will have to play Q at AO if she wants to compete?

Can she get a WC given her doping history?

She will probably retire anyways even if she gets a WC.
 

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She can get a WC (she did at the 2017 US Open), but I can't see her getting one because of the reciprocal arrangement the Aussies have with the French and US, as well as that Asian WC thing, so you'd be looking at only 4 home WCs, which I think would be unlikely.

It would be weird to see her in slam qualifying though, but at the same time, it would be a great experience for some relatively unknown 240/245 type player who has never made a slam main draw to draw her in quals.
 

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It will be an interesting decision for the AO for sure. 4 of the WC are already out of play with the US and French reciprocal WCs and the winners of AO playoff and Asia-Pacific playoff being awarded the 2 others. If Clijsters is ready for the AO they will likely give her one too. That would leave 3 WCs left to give to Australian players or Sharapova. Will Tennis Australia give up another WC for an Australian player to put Sharapova in the draw? I'm not so sure that they will.
 

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I think that Oz Open has already shown they don't give a shit about the doping.

Clijsters is the big question here. If Clijsters is ready to play, and requests a WC, she should almost certainly outrank Sharapova, who has been back for years, but has seen her ranking drop with terrible recent form and injuries.

I think they could easily give one WC to a big star with multiple slams, but two, in addition to the pre-allocated ones mentioned above? I think it'd cause resentment.
 

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Since she signed up for an exho during the qualifier week...maybe she got good news from Craig. I can't see her slogging out 3 matches, only to falter in R1 if her body holds up. And a lot of qualifiers are no pushovers.
 

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The exhibition sign-up is a free option with no downside. She can always cancel an exhibition commitment. The organisers don’t mind cause it generates buzz even if she doesn’t show up in the end.
 
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