Johannesburg [South Africa]: Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova will be playing her first Grand Slam after coming back from the 15-month doping back after receiving wildcard for the US Open which begins August 28.
Sharapova has played in the US Open main draw 10 times before. In her last visit to New York, in 2014, she fell to Caroline Wozniacki in the round of 16. The Russian, who has never lost a first-round match at Flushing Meadows, will be unseeded for just the second time.
In her US Open debut in 2003, Sharapova was ranked No. 54. She is currently No. 148.
The Russian made her return to competitive tennis at the Stuttgart Open held in April.
The move by the United States 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.
“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,” Sport24 quoted the USTA as saying 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,” the statement added.
Thank you, @usopen. This is so so special. #goosebumps https://t.co/MnolaaqKsN
— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) August 15, 2017
The five-time Grand Slam champion withdrew from the ongoing Cincinnati Masters with a left forearm injury.
The same injury had also forced her to withdraw from the Bank of the West Classic after winning her first match, and the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
The 30-year-old, banned after testing positive for heart drug meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open, has had mixed results since re-joining the WTA Tour. ( ANI)