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'Special' US Open wildcard gave Sharapova goosebumps

150   //    16 Aug 2017, 02:00 IST
Maria Sharapova celebrates a win in Rome

Maria Sharapova described her wildcard for the US Open as "so, so special", adding that it gave her goosebumps.

The five-time grand slam champion will make her first major appearance since returning from a 15-month doping ban after being handed a wildcard for the main draw at Flushing Meadows.

Sharapova last appeared at a slam at the 2016 Australian Open, reaching the quarter-finals, before it was then announced that she had tested positive for meldonium.

After returning in April, the former world number one was denied a wildcard for the French Open in May, while a thigh injury forced her to miss Wimbledon.

But she now has the opportunity to replicate her 2006 success in New York, having pulled out of this week's Western & Southern Open with an arm problem to focus on the final grand slam of the year.

And, reacting to the news, Sharapova posted on Twitter: "Thank you, @usopen. This is so so special. #goosebumps"

Sharapova returned at the Stuttgart Open, losing to Kristina Mladenovic in the semi-finals.

However, her WTA Tour comeback has attracted significant controversy.

The 30-year-old received criticism from a number of players on tour after the announcement of her failed test, and Eugenie Bouchard labelled her "a cheater" and said she deserved a lifetime ban before beating her in the second round at the Madrid Open.

Her run to the last four in Stuttgart marks Sharapova's best performance since her return, with her early exit in Madrid followed by a second-round defeat in Rome before she pulled out at the same stage at the Bank of the West Classic due to her injured left forearm.

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