Sharapova awarded main draw wildcard at US Open

Aug 15 (Reuters) - Former world number one Maria Sharapova will make her first grand slam appearance in over 18 months after she was awarded a main-draw wildcard for the upcoming U.S. Open, the tennis tournament's organizers confirmed on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old Russian, who returned from a 15-month doping ban earlier this year, was denied a wildcard at the French Open, then missed the grasscourt season, including Wimbledon, with a thigh injury.

Sharapova tested positive for the drug meldonium in 2016, which had been added to the banned substances list in January of that year.

Related: See Sharapova against Serena Williams through the years:

The 2006 US Open champion and five-time Grand Slam winner claimed to have been unaware of the International Tennis Federation's rule change.

Sharapova's U.S. Open preparations have been disrupted by an arm injury suffered during her first-round win over Jennifer Brady earlier this month.

The world number 148 was forced to withdraw from the Rogers Cup and the ongoing Cincinnati Open as a precautionary measure before the final grand slam of the year.

Other wildcard recipients on the women's side were Americans Taylor Townsend, Kayla Day, Sofia Kenin, Ashley Kratzer, Brienne Minor and France's Amandine Hesse.

The U.S. Open runs from Aug. 28 to Sept. 10 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows, New York.

Both the men's and women's singles champions this year will earn $3.7 million.

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