Five-times Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova has been awarded a wild card to play in this year’s U.S. Open tennis tournament.
Tournament organizers said on their website on August 15 that the former world No. 1, who returned to the tour earlier this year after serving a 15-month ban for doping, was one of eight players to receive a wild card to play in the 128-player women’s singles main draw.
Sharapova tested positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open and was suspended by the International Tennis Federation.
Since returning to play in April, she has needed wildcards to get into tournaments, drawing criticism from some fellow professionals.
The 30-year-old Russian was denied a wildcard at the French Open and then missed several weeks of play, including Wimbledon, because of a thigh injury.
Sharapova, now ranked 148 in the world, is again having injury difficulties, and was forced to withdraw from last week’s Rogers Cup in Toronto and the ongoing Cincinnati Open with an arm injury as a precautionary measure ahead of the final grand slam of the year.
The U.S. Open runs from August 28 to September 10 in New York.