MOSCOW, March 1. /TASS/. Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova was granted a wildcard permitting her to enter the main draw of the tennis tournament in Rome, Internazionali BNL D'Italia, which offers $2.77 million in prize money up for grabs, the tournament’s organizers announced on Wednesday.
"We officially announce the Wild Card for the 3 times Rome's Champion Maria Sharapova into the main draw of the 2017 tournament," the organizers stated in their Twitter account.
We officially announce the Wild Card for the 3 times Rome's Champion @MariaSharapova into the main draw of #ibi17! #tennis #WTA #Sharapova pic.twitter.com/bxrPrjI6fJ— Internazionali Bnl (@InteBNLdItalia) 1 March 2017
Sharapova, who is the three-time Internazionali BNL D'Italia champion grabbing the most recent title in Rome in 2015, earlier picked up wildcards for the tennis tournaments in Stuttgart and Madrid as she is making her return to the circle of the WTA (Women Tennis Association).
The tournament in Italy, scheduled to be held between May 15 and 21, will be Sharapova’s third this year following Stuttgart and Madrid.
Currently serving a provisional suspension, Sharapova is set to make her comeback following a doping ban on April 26 at the tennis tournament in Stuttgart.
The tennis player has been serving a two-year suspension for the violation of anti-doping regulations since January 26 last year. However, the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled on October 4, 2016 to reduce her suspension term from 24 to 15 months.
In March last year, Sharapova announced that her doping tests revealed the presence of banned performance enhancing drug meldonium in the body system. Following the announcement, former World’s No. 1 was provisionally suspended from all tennis-related activities, including from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.
Sharapova is Russia’s most decorated tennis player having won a total of five Grand Slam tournaments, namely Australian Open in 2008, French Open in 2012 and 2014, Wimbledon in 2004 and US Open in 2006.
She is also a silver medal winner of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and the 2008 Federations Cup champion.