Maria Sharapova granted entry to US Open following doping suspension

Maria Sharapova headlines Women's singles wildcards for US Open

Maria Sharapova headlines Women's singles wildcards for US Open

The U.S. Open announced Tuesday that it was giving Maria Sharapova a wild-card entry into the main draw, meaning she will play in a grand slam event for the first time since the Australian Open in January 2016.

The former world No. 1 is now ranked 148th in the world.

But the United States Tennis Association have ignored their feelings - and those of many others in the sport - to give the 2006 champion a free pass into the main draw. In general, wild cards are often granted to former greats returning from injury who would not otherwise qualify on ranking alone, or to plucky local upstarts deemed deserving of a chance to breakout.

Once her suspension ended in April, Sharapova was given wild-card entries into tournaments in Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome but did not play in either the French Open (Roland Garros officials refused to allow her into the qualifying tournament) or Wimbledon (she had to withdraw from qualifying because of a thigh injury).

Sharapova has played in the US Open main draw 10 times before. "So it is up to Maria day after day, tournament after tournament, to find alone the strength she needs to win the big titles without owing anything to anyone". Kim Clijsters, returning to tennis after retiring and giving birth, got a wild card to the 2009 Open and won it.

Maria Sharapova with the US Open title back in 2006
Maria Sharapova with the US Open title back in 2006

The question is: Can Sharapova make an immediate return to form at Flushing Meadows? She returned to the tour, but her ranking - now 148th - was too low to allow entry into major tournaments, and the French Open denied her a wild card.

The organisation added that Sharapova had volunteered to speak to young players at the USTA national campus about the importance of the tennis anti-doping programme and the responsibility each player has to comply with it.

Sharapova has also suffered an injury-plagued start to the hard court season.

The U.S. Open starts August 28, and will features the likes of Garbine Muguruza, Venus Williams and Angelique Kerber.

Washington Nationals vs. San Francisco Giants
Nationals: OF Michael Taylor was activated from the 10-day DL after missing 29 games with a right oblique strain. Harper has been relatively healthy this season and missed just three days with mild groin soreness back in May.

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