31 December 2019

Maria Sharapova to return to competitive tennis after being offered Brisbane International wildcard

Russian former world No 1 tennis player Maria Sharapova has been offered a wildcard for the Brisbane International tennis tournament starting on January 6.

The 32-year-old will join Venus Williams, Naomi Osaka and current world No 1 Ashleigh Barty as she returns to the court for the first time since August 2019.

Five-time grand slam champion Sharapova has been plagued by a shoulder injury since returning to competition following a doping ban. This meant she only played in eight competitions and a total of 15 matches throughout the whole of 2019.

Sharapova, who has not won a grand slam since 2014, announced the news on social media saying: "Brisbane, I've missed you, and I'm so excited to be starting off my year 2020 at your tournament, in your city.

"I've missed the fans, I've missed the event so much, and I am so looking forward to seeing everyone."

The Russian star is also scheduled to play the Kooyong Classic but said a wild card inclusion for the 2020 Australian Open will be determined by results in Brisbane. “While it is about results for me it is more about how I feel day to day, making sure my shoulder holds up but I am definitely up for that test,” she said.

The Brisbane International runs from January 6-12 at the Queensland Tennis Centre and features a number of the biggest names in the sport ahead of the first grand slam of the year, the Australian Open, which starts on January 20.

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