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MOSCOW, August 15. /TASS/. Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova was granted a wildcard for entering the Grand Slam series tournament, the US Open, following her lengthy absence from this type of tournaments, the official website of the tournament reported on Tuesday.
The US Open, which offers $24 million in prize money up for grabs, is scheduled to be held between August 28 and September 10 at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York. The organizers of the tournament did not announce as of yet whether the Russian player accepted the wildcard and confirmed her participation.
"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 2006 champion in New York, the winner of five major singles titles, headlines a list of seven women who have been awarded entry into the final Grand Slam of the season."
"Sharapova has played in the US Open main draw 10 times before," the statement continued. "In her last visit to New York, in 2014, she fell to Caroline Wozniacki in the round of 16. The Russian, who has never lost a first-round match at Flushing Meadows, will be unseeded for just the second time."
"In her US Open debut in 2003, Sharapova was ranked No. 54. She is currently No. 148," the statement added.
On July 31, Sharapova played her first match on the US soil at the WTA tennis tournament in Stanford, California, where she was invited with a wildcard.
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. It was also the first game for Sharapova after she sustained a thigh injury earlier in the year and was forced to pull out from the tennis tournament in Italy.
However, the Russian tennis star was forced to withdraw from the tournament in following her first round victory citing an injury to her left wrist. Sharapova also declined playing at the WTA tennis tournament in Canada’s Toronto on August 5-13.
After a 15-month long suspension for violating anti-doping regulations, Sharapova made her tour return in April at Stuttgart, reaching the semi-finals. She also participated in the Madrid Open where she lost in the second round, and retired injured from her second round match at the Rome Masters.
Sharapova is Russia’s most decorated tennis player having won a total of five Grand Slam tournaments, namely the Australian Open in 2008, the French Open in 2012 and 2014, Wimbledon in 2004 and the US Open in 2006.
She also clinched the silver in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and was the 2008 Federations Cup champion.