Maria Sharapova receives wild card for Italian Open

Maria Sharapova receives wild card for Italian Open

Former world number one and five-time grand slam champion Maria Sharapova would play just her second event after returning to professional tennis having returned from a suspension at the Italian Open.

don-han
Don Han

Three-time Internazionali BNL D’Italia champion Maria Sharapova will play just her second tournament in Rome after her comeback from her drug suspension on 26th April 2017.

The five-time grand slam champion and former world number one had just received a wild card for the outdoor clay event that is held just two weeks before the second grand slam event of the year, the French Open. This news just came after it was announced by the organizers of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix that Sharapova was confirmed to make her return to professional tennis on the 26th of April after she received a wildcard for the event that she had won thrice in a row from 2012-2014.

Sharapova won the title here in her last appearance
Sharapova won the title here in her last appearance | Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images Europe

Being the former champion here in 2011, 2012 and 2015, Maria Sharapova has previously achieved much success here to gain some momentum and confidence entering into her first grand slam of the year at Paris provided if she could get a wildcard as a former champion.

Sharapova’s history here in Rome

The former world number one reached the quarterfinals or better in 6 of her 8 previous appearances here, which is an incredible feat. Sharapova has been known as the “Queen of clay” as her success recently mostly came on the clay courts. She has previously achieved good wins over Victoria Azarenka, Ana Ivanovic, Angelique Kerber, Li Na, Caroline Wozniacki and Samantha Stosur here on the red clay courts of Rome.

It would be a question if Sharapova can ever return to her top form once again after the 15-month hiatus from professional tennis, but she has been making great use of the time to practice more as seen from her social media accounts. We would definitely get our answers in both Stuttgart and Rome, and if she performs well enough in her first few tournaments, she could get a direct entry to Wimbledon without relying on a wildcard.

Sharapova completed the Career Grand Slam at Paris in 2012 | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
Sharapova completed the Career Grand Slam at Paris in 2012 | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

The Italian Tennis Federation has already confirmed Sharapova’s participation as a wildcard on their official website and the tickets would be selling as quickly as possible after tickets for the Russian’s first match back at Stuttgart had already been sold out after just a few hours the news was announced, thus proving her market value.

The Internazionali BNL D’Italia would get underway on the 15th of May, around four months away from now.

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