Maria Sharapova hasn’t played at Flushing Meadows in the US Open since 2015, but that’s changing due to an announcement by the United States Tennis Association.
Sharapova is being given a wild card entry into the tournament, with the USTA saying its decision was based purely on its history of granting wild cards to past US Open champions, according to a report by the Associated Press.
The former world No. 1’s inclusion in the event will likely garner mixed emotions in the tennis world. Eugenie Bouchard has been outspoken on her dislike of Sharapova returning to the tour after serving a 15-month suspension for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, while others (the USTA included) are taking the stance that she fully served her suspension and should no longer be penalized.
Glad to see USTA give Maria Sharapova a wild card, suspension over, great for the sport to have her back. https://t.co/0l0jJuMKfL— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) August 15, 2017
Sharapova was suspended in June of 2016 for two years following a positive test for the substance meldonium, which was added to the WTA’s list of banned substances in the fall of 2015. Sharapova claims she did not know the substance was banned, which, in part, caused the WTA to reduce her suspension, allowing her to play in 2017.
Sharapova has played a limited season in 2017 since returning from suspension, entering events as a wild card. As a part of her inclusion in the field, Sharapova has agreed to speak with youth players about the importance of the WTA’s anti-doping policy.