Sharapova receives US Open wildcard for first post-ban Slam

Maria Sharapova of Russia is among eight women given entry into the 128-player field by the U.S. Tennis Association on Tuesday

Sharapova, a former world number one and five-time Grand Slam singles champion, has received wildcards into several WTA tournaments since her return though did not get one for either the French Open or Wimbledon; if she has recovered from the injury problems that have plagued her recent weeks, she will be making her first Grand Slam appearance since the 2016 Australian Open.

There will be no such barrier in NY; she'll slide straight into the main draw. 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.

By not competing, she missed some great chances to improve her game and her ranking before the US Open.

Maria Sharapova described her wildcard for the US Open as "so, so special", adding that it gave her goosebumps. In May, she was denied entry into the French Open, but the selection committee has lifted her ban so she can play in NY.

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.

Sharapova, who returned to tennis from a 15-month doping ban in April, went on to say she is convinced that that defeat is why Williams and her have never been friends - and it is why the American has dominated their meetings since.

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Maria Sharapova has been handed a wildcard into the main draw at the US Open.

The US Open starts in Flushing Meadows on August 28 (August 29 NZT).

She hoped to receive a wildcard for the French Open, but was denied one for both the main draw and qualifying rounds.

"She has handled her suspension with dignity and respect", Bernard Giudicelli, president of the French Tennis Federation, said at the time.

However, she was forced to pull out of Wimbledon qualifying due to a thigh injury she suffered at the Italian Open in May.

In June 2016, Sharapova was punished with a two-year doping ban for testing positive for heart disease drug meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.

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