Sharapova to make her Grand Slam return at the US Open

Maria Sharapova

Sharapova is being given a wild card entry into the tournament, with the U.S. Tennis Association saying their decision was based purely on her being a past champion, according to a report by the Associated Press.

"The Sharapova wild-card debate took up a huge amount of tennis's attention during the spring", says Simon Briggs of the Daily Telegraph, "when many of her peers in the locker room suggested that she should not be given any help with her comeback from an 15-month doping ban".

'And as part of a reciprocal agreement with the USTA, Tennis Australia will award one additional main draw wild card to a player who will be announced at a later date'.

The USTA cited previous champions who had received main-draw wild cards at the tournament when they would not have qualified otherwise, including Martina Hingis, Lleyton Hewitt, Kim Clijsters and Juan Martín del Potro, the last of whom received one a year ago.

Sharapova was already guaranteed a place in the qualifying draw at Flushing Meadows by virtue of her world ranking of No 148.

"Only when you have that intense antagonism can you find the strength to finish her off".

Sharapova, who is soon to release her autobiography, Unstoppable: My Life So Far, said in the book that her 2004 win left Williams "bawling" and "crying" in the locker room.

Sharapova has an additional five Grand Slam finals on her resume, as well as an additional 10 trips to the semifinals.

The last time Maria Sharapova played in a major was at the 2016 Australian Open where she lost to Serena Williams. She has not competed in a Grand Slam event in almost 18 months.

"But mostly, I think she hated me for hearing her cry".

The Russian made her return to competitive tennis at the Stuttgart Open held in April.

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal was thrilled to learn on Monday that he would return to world No. 1 for the first time in three years but sorry that it came because Roger Federer withdrew from this week's ATP Cincinnati Masters tournament.

Williams has been all but true to her word, losing to Sharapova once since that Wimbledon final.

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