New York | Sharapova gets her wish
The USTA has capitulated and given the drug cheat Maria Sharapova a wildcard into the US Open which starts on August 28.
Her suspension under the terms of the tennis anti-doping program was completed and therefore was not one of the factors weighed in our wildcard selection process, The USTA
Unlike the French Open and Wimbledon, the USTA has decided not to follow their example and withhold a wildcard following her 15-month doping ban which will no doubt please some and annoy others, especially some players who believe she should be working her way back into the game.
“Her suspension under the terms of the tennis anti-doping program was completed and therefore was not one of the factors weighed in our wildcard selection process,” the USTA said in a statement.
“Consistent with past practice, a wildcard was provided to a past US champion who needed the wildcard for entry into the main draw. Previous US Open champions who have received US Open main draw wildcards include Martina Hingis, Lleyton Hewitt, Kim Clijsters and Juan Martin del Potro,” the statement added.
Sharapova, with five grand slam titles, is the 2006 US Open champion currently ranked 148.
It also added that she would be speaking to youngsters about the ills of drug taking in sport but she still hasn’t apologised for her actions to the tennis public since making her return to competitive tennis at the Stuttgart Open last April. And that was thanks to the provision of a wildcard which she has required for all the events she has appeared in since.
However, during that time she has picked up a series of injuries and is currently side-lined with a left forearm propblem which prevented her from making an appearance at Cincinnati. The same injury forced her out of the Stanford Classic after her first-round victory there and stopped her going to Toronto the following week for the Rogers Cup.
She was due to play the qualifying event for the US Open but with her wildcard will now have more time to recuperate from that injury.