Sharapova to play first major in 18 months at US Open

"Former US Open champion Maria Sharapova will make her first Grand Slam appearance in more than 18 months after being given a wild card into the main draw of the US Open", according to a statement on the tournament's official website.

The US Open is one of the prestigious tournament which has the prize money of USD3.7 Million.

Sharapova, 30, returned to the WTA Tour in April and is now ranked No. 148.

She will be hoping to match her singles title at the US Open in 2006 and improve upon her haul of five Major titles.

The USTA announced on Tuesday that Sharapova would get a wild card into the US Open, which begins in two weeks. "In her last visit to NY, in 2014, she fell to Caroline Wozniacki in the round of 16", the USTA said in a statement on Tuesday, reports Efe.

Sharapova failed to qualify automatically after plummeting down the rankings during a 15-month suspension for taking the banned substance meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.

The 2006 victor will be joined in the main draw by USTA Girls' 18s Nationals champion Ashley Kratzer, US Open Wild Card Challenge victor Sofia Kenin and NCAA singles champion Brianne Minor, defending US Open girls' champion Kayla Day and former junior World No.1 Taylor Townsend.

She was denied entry to Roland Garros by the French Tennis Federation in May, which said it was seeking "to protect the high standards of the game" by not allowing a convicted doper to receive a wild card.

The USTA didn't consider her suspension in awarding the wild card, saying it was following past practice of granting them to former US Open champions who needed them, such as Martina Hingis, Lleyton Hewitt, Kim Cljisters and Juan Martin del Potro.

In her first round encounter Sharapova clinched the victory from home favorite Jennifer Brady edging the American in three sets 6-1, 4-6, 6-0 at the tennis court of the Stanford University.

Her return to Queens would add some star power to the Open with Serena Williams (pregnancy), Novak Djokovic (injury) and Stan Wawrinka (injury) all out of this year's tournament.

  • Rosalie Stanley