BBCI: Maria Sharapova: Five-time Grand Slam victor given US Open wildcard
- Author: Regina Holmes Aug 16, 2017,
Aug 16, 2017, 15:27
Sharapova, a former world number one and five-time Grand Slam singles champion, has received wildcards into several WTA tournaments since her return though did not get one for either the French Open or Wimbledon; if she has recovered from the injury problems that have plagued her recent weeks, she will be making her first Grand Slam appearance since the 2016 Australian Open.
Given all the injuries Sharapova, 30, has suffered since her May return, it would have been a near impossible task for her to go through qualifying and then the main draw.
Sharapova, 30, returned to the WTA Tour in April and is now ranked No. 148. Sharapova won the US Open in 2006 and reached the semifinals in 2005 and 2012.
"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 United States Tennis Association (USTA), which oversees the US Open, told BBC Sport. Her last major title came in 2014, when she won the French Open. The US Open runs from August 28 to September 10 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows, New York.
Sharapova thanked the officials and said the decision to let her play in the US Open main draw for an 11th time gave her goosebumps.
Sharapova, who is soon to release her autobiography, Unstoppable: My Life So Far, said in the book that her 2004 win left Williams "bawling" and "crying" in the locker room.
Sharapova tested positive for the drug meldonium in 2016, which had been added to the banned substances list in January of that year.
But she now has the opportunity to replicate her 2006 success in NY, having pulled out of this week's Western & Southern Open with an arm problem to focus on the final grand slam of the year. Upon her comeback she was denied a wild card for both the main draw and qualifying into the French Open.
After receiving a wild card into the Bank of The West Classic in Stanford, Sharapova was forced to withdraw prior to her second round match against Lesia Tsurenko after sustaining a forearm injury in the previous round against Jennifer Brady.
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