16 Aug 2017 - 1:46
Sharapova gets US Open wildcard
New York: Five-time major champion Maria Sharapova of Russia will play her first Grand Slam event since serving a 15-month doping suspension after receiving a wildcard into the US Open yesterday.
The move by the US Tennis Association (USTA) comes after Sharapova, ranked 148th this week, was rejected for a wildcard spot into the French Open and missed Wimbledon with a thigh injury.
Sharapova tested positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open and was suspended by the International Tennis Federation, a ban that ended in April.
Since then, Sharapova has needed wildcards to get into tournaments, drawing criticism from some fellow professionals.
“Her suspension under the terms of the tennis anti-doping program was completed and therefore was not one of the factors weighed in our wildcard selection process,” the USTA said in a statement.
“Consistent with past practice, a wildcard was provided to a past US champion who needed the wildcard for entry into the main draw. Previous US Open champions who have received US Open main draw wildcards include Martina Hingis, Lleyton Hewitt, Kim Clijsters and Juan Martin del Potro.”
Former world number one Sharapova won the 2006 US Open as well as Wimbledon in 2014, the 2008 Australian Open and the 2012 and 2014 French Opens.
Sharapova has shaken off criticism from rival players about wildcards and the French Open snub, tweeting after being denied a spot at Roland Garros, “If this is what it takes to rise up again, then I am in it all the way, everyday. No words, games or actions will ever stop me from reaching my own dreams. And I have many.”
Sharapova has withdrawn from US Open warm-up tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati the past two weeks after suffering a left forearm injury at Stanford.
In her first US match since March 2015, Shrapova defeated American Jennifer Brady 6-1, 4-6, 6-0 at Stanford.
But in the triumph, Sharapova suffered the forearm injury that has sidelined her since, even after arriving in Cincinnati hopeful of playing as a wildcard in the final major tune-up before the US Open.