Sharapova awarded main draw wildcard at U.S. Open
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[August 16, 2017]
(Reuters) - Former world number
one Maria Sharapova will make her first grand slam appearance in
over 18 months after she was awarded a main-draw wildcard for the
upcoming U.S. Open, organizers said on Tuesday.
The 30-year-old Russian, who returned from a 15-month doping ban
earlier this year, was denied a wildcard at the French Open, then
missed the grasscourt season, including Wimbledon, with a thigh
Sharapova tweeted on Tuesday: "Thank you, @usopen. This is so so
Sharapova tested positive for the drug meldonium in 2016, which had
been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)banned substances
list in January of that year.
The winner of five grand slam titles, including the 2006 U.S. Open,
said she was unaware of the change.
"Her suspension under the terms of the tennis anti-doping program
was completed and therefore was not one of the factors weighed in
our wild card selection process," the United States Tennis
Association (USTA) said in a statement.
"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."
Sharapova's U.S. Open preparations have been disrupted by an arm
injury suffered during her first-round win over Jennifer Brady at
the Stanford Classic earlier this month.
[to top of second column]
Maria Sharapova (RUS) waves to the crowd after winning against
Jennifer Brady (USA) in the Bank of the West Classic tennis
tournament at Stanford University. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA
The world number 148 was forced to withdraw from the
Rogers Cup and this week's Cincinnati Open as a precautionary
measure before the final grand slam of the year.
Other wildcard recipients on the women's side were Americans Taylor
Townsend, Kayla Day, Sofia Kenin, Ashley Kratzer, Brienne Minor and
France's Amandine Hesse.
The U.S. Open runs from Aug. 28 to Sept. 10 at the Billie Jean King
National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows, New York.
Both the men's and women's singles champions this year will earn
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru and Rory Carroll in Los
Angeles; Editing by Larry King and Ken Ferris)
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