Sharapova granted US Open wildcard

With Agencies
Sharapova granted US Open wildcard

Former world no.1 women's tennis player Maria Sharapova has controversially been granted a wildcard entry for the US Open.

Sharapova is among eight women who were given entry into the 128-player field by the US Tennis Association on Tuesday - and by far the most noteworthy.

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The former No.1-ranked player and owner of five major titles, including at the 2006 US Open, will be participating in her first grand slam tournament since the Australian Open in January 2016, when she tested positive for the newly banned drug meldonium.

The five-time major champion served a 15-month suspension after testing positive for meldonium at last year's Australian Open and returned in April at the Stuttgart Open, losing to Kristina Mladenovic in the semi-finals.

However, she was denied a wildcard for the French Open in May before a thigh injury forced her to miss Wimbledon.

But the Russian will now have the chance to replicate her 2006 success at Flushing Meadows after the United States Tennis Association confirmed her presence in the draw, Sharapova having pulled out of this week's Western & Southern Open with an arm problem to focus on the final grand slam of the year.

Sharapova's return to the WTA Tour has attracted significant controversy.

The 30-year-old received criticism from a number of players on tour after the announcement of her failed test, while Eugenie Bouchard labelled her "a cheater" and said she deserved a lifetime ban before beating her in the second round at the Madrid Open.

Her run to the last four in Stuttgart marks Sharapova's best performance since her return, with her early exit in Madrid followed by a second-round defeat in Rome before she pulled out at the same stage at the Bank of the West Classic due to her injured left forearm.

Sharapova progressed to the quarter-finals of the 2016 Australian Open in her last grand slam appearance. Since her triumph in New York 11 years ago, she has only gone beyond the fourth round at the US Open once - reaching the semi-finals in 2012.