Sharapova receives US Open wildcard for first post-ban Slam
 
, Posted on 16-Aug-2017


Sharapova receives US Open wildcard for first post-ban Slam

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 Tuesday into the US Open.

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 will also speak to youth about the benefits of the anti-doping program and the need for players to be vigilant about the banned substance list, something she admitted not doing when she did not catch meldonium being added to the ban list in 2016.

"Additionally, Sharapova has volunteered to speak to young tennis players at the USTA national campus about the importance of the tennis anti-doping program and the personal responsibility each player has to comply with the program's requirements," the USTA said.

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."

Players in Cincinnati for this week's WTA event welcomed Sharapova back into Grand Slam tennis.

"I'm sure this is a great moment for her to have an opportunity to be back to a place where she has done so well," ninth-ranked Venus Williams said.

World number six dismissed any notion it would be wrong to give Sharapova a wildcard, saying, "Either way it's not a controversy. I don't have a problem with that."

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, Sharapova 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 tuneup before the US Open.

"Following the doctor's advice on-site, as a precaution for the US Open, I am unfortunately withdrawing from the tournament with the left forearm injury I sustained in Stanford," Sharapova said. 

AFP


Related News

Sugita win keeps Japan in Davis Cup world group
Sep 18

Sugita win keeps Japan in Davis Cup world group

Osaka : Yuichi Sugita thrashed Thiago Monteiro on Monday as Japan preserved their Davis Cup world group status by wrapping up a comfortable playoff victory over Brazil in Osaka. Celebrating his 29th birthday, world number 42 Sugita thrashed Monteiro 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 to give the home side an unassailable 3-1 lead in...

Read More
Mertens out in Tokyo as last two seeds trampled
Sep 15

Mertens out in Tokyo as last two seeds trampled

Tokyo : American Christina McHale pummelled Belgium's Elise Mertens 6-4, 6-1 to reach the Japan Women's Open semi-finals Friday as the last two remaining seeds in Tokyo fell by the wayside. Defending champion McHale faced surprisingly little resistance from the third seed...

Read More
Nadal gives Next Gen wake-up call
Sep 12

Nadal gives Next Gen wake-up call

New York : Rafael Nadal’s third US Open and 16th Grand Slam title meant a familiar look for the landscape of men’s tennis -- and a worrying wake-up call in the “City That Never Sleeps” for the next generation. The 31-year-old Spaniard defeated Kevin Anderson to ensure that the last five...

Read More
Nadal hails 'best season' and 'incredible era'
Sep 11

Nadal hails 'best season' and 'incredible era'

New York : Rafael Nadal described the year 2017 as "one of the best of his career" on Sunday after winning a third US Open and 16th Grand Slam. World number one Nadal defeated South Africa's world number 32 Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 in a brutally one-sided final during which he did not face a break...

Read More
Stephens captures first Slam crown
Sep 11

Stephens captures first Slam crown

New York : Sloane Stephens captured her first Grand Slam title by routing fellow American Madison Keys 6-3, 6-0 in Saturday’s US Open final. Stephens took a $3.7 million (3.07 million euros) top prize from the biggest victory of her career, pitted against one of her closest friends in the first all-US...

Read More
Healthy year bigger prize for Nadal than US Open crown
Sep 09

Healthy year bigger prize for Nadal than US Open crown

New York  : World number one Rafael Nadal, nagged for years by knee injuries but enjoying a stellar season, already has a prize more treasured than another Grand Slam title -- a healthy campaign chasing them. The 31-year-old Spaniard, who ousted Juan Martin del Potro on Friday to reach Sunday's...

Read More
Stephens ousts Venus, to face Keys for US Open title
Sep 08

Stephens ousts Venus, to face Keys for US Open title

New York : Americans Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys, both struggling with serious injuries just three months ago, advanced to their first Grand Slam final at the US Open on Thursday. Stephens, who missed 11 months with a left foot injury before returning in July, outlasted seven-time Slam champion...

Read More
Venus leads first US Open all-American semis since 1981
Sep 07

Venus leads first US Open all-American semis since 1981

New York : For the first time since 1981, the US Open women's semi-finals will be an all-American affair with seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams and three first-Slam-title hopefuls in the mix. Williams, seeking her third US Open crown after 2000 and 2001, will face Sloane Stephens while 20th seed CoCo...

Read More
 Del Potro shatters Federer's dream of Nadal US Open showdown
Sep 07

Del Potro shatters Federer's dream of Nadal US Open showdown

New York : Juan Martin del Potro sensationally gatecrashed the US Open again on Wednesday, stunning five-champion Roger Federer and shattering hopes of a first New York showdown between the Swiss legend and Rafael Nadal. The Argentine giant, who won his only Grand Slam title in the city in 2009 by beating Federer in...

Read More
Venus beats Kvitova, to face Stephens in US Open semis
Sep 06

Venus beats Kvitova, to face Stephens in US Open semis

New York : Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams became the oldest semi-finalist in US Open history at age 37 on Tuesday by defeating two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/2). US ninth seed Williams, seeking her third US Open crown, advanced to a Thursday matchup against...

Read More