Maria gets WTA Toronto wildcard
MONTREAL: Former World No 1 Maria Sharapova, making a comeback after a 15-month doping ban, has been awarded a wildcard entry into the Toronto WTA tournament, Tennis Canada announced on Tuesday.
The 30-year-old Russian star, a five-time Grand Slam champion, was refused a wildcard spot by French Open organisers but Maria has said she will play in Wimbledon qualifying, needing three wins to reach the main draw.
Maria will make her first appearance in Canada since 2014 at the Rogers Cup, to be played Aug 7-13, as a hardcourt tune0up for the year’s final Grand Slam event, the US Open, which begins on Aug 28.
“I’m really looking forward to coming back to Canada,” Maria said. “I have some great memories of playing Toronto in the past and the tournament and the fans have always been so supportive. This is one of the biggest events of the year and I hope to play my best tennis that week.”
Maria was issued a two-year suspension after testing positive for the banned heart drug meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport reduced the ban on appeal.
Maria, ranked 173rd in the world, made her tour return last month at Stuttgart, reaching the semi-finals.
Her best showing in Canada came in 2009 when she reached the Toronto final. AFP