Maria Sharapova granted entry to US Open following doping suspension

Aug 16, 2017, 15:31
Maria Sharapova granted entry to US Open following doping suspension

Former US Open champion Maria Sharapova is free to play her first grand slam tournament in more than 18 months after being granted a wild card at Flushing Meadows by the US Tennis Association (USTA). The US Open also announced it's main draw men's singles wild cards. Sharapova didn't compete at Wimbledon due to a thigh injury.

Now ranked 148 in the world, the Russian has a lifetime 32-9 record in Flushing Meadows, including her 2006 title over Justine Henin.

"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. The last, her US Open debut in 2003, she was ranked 54 in the world.

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It has been eleven years since Sharapova, only aged 19 at the time, beat Justine Henin to take the title at Flushing Meadows, and the Russian now has an opportunity to take a second title in NY after last playing in 2014.

Soon after that tournament, the International Tennis Federation suspended Sharapova after she failed a drug test for meldonium, which had been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency starting January 1 of that year.

Sharapova tested positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open and was suspended by the International Tennis Federation, a ban that ended in April. Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova was granted a wildcard for entering the Grand Slam series tournament, the US Open, following her lengthy absence from this type of tournaments, the official website of the tournament reported on Tuesday.

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"Previous US Open champions who have received US Open main draw wildcards include Martina Hingis, Lleyton Hewitt, Kim Cljisters and Juan Martin del Potro". Upon her comeback she was denied a wild card for both the main draw and qualifying into the French Open.

Starting the American hardcourt season at the Bank of West Classic she was forced to withdraw before her second match with a left arm injury, and that injury also forced her to withdraw from this week's tournament in Cincinnati.

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