Sharapova handed wildcard for US Open

The US Open has become the first grand slam to hand Maria Sharapova a wildcard entry to the tournament.

The Russian superstar's world ranking fell drastically during her 15 month doping ban, making her ineligible for the tennis major's based on rankings.

A number of smaller tournaments have extended invitations to Sharapova and she enjoyed a semi-final appearance at WTA Stuttgart in April, which remains her best result since returning. 

The US Tennis Association released a statement on Tuesday revealing the wildcards for the US Open, which begins on 28 August. 

"Her suspension under the terms of the tennis anti-doping program was completed and therefore was not one of the factors weighed in our wildcard selection process," read the statement.

"Consistent with past practice, a wildcard was provided to a past US champion who needed the wildcard for entry into the main draw. Previous US Open champions who have received US Open main draw wildcards include Martina Hingis, Lleyton Hewitt, Kim Clijsters and Juan Martin del Potro."

Both the French Open and Wimbledon declined to hand Sharapova a wildcard entry, likely due to the criticism she received for getting entries into lesser tournaments earlier this year.

The five-time grand slam winner recently withdrew from events in Toronto and Cincinnati due a forearm injury.

Sharapova's last major was the 2016 Australian Open, where she was knocked out in the quarter-finals. The 30-year-old won the 2006 US Open, beating Justine Henin-Hardenne in straight sets.