Former world number one, Maria Sharapova is set to compete in the Brisbane International taking place in Brisbane, Australia in January.
This was after she accepted a wildcard to compete in the event. Sharapova had a very uninteresting 2019 as a shoulder injury limited her play to just 15 games in the year, with the last one being in August at the US Open.
The chance to play in Brisbane is very significant for the Russian. First, it is a return to a country that served her a ban when she was found guilty of taking banned substances while preparing for the Australian Open in 2016.
She was initially given a ban of two years but managed to get an appeal that reduced it to 15 months. All that while she was inactive and her shaky performance after her return in 2018 has seen her ranking plummet from former world number one to current 133.
Also, it serves as a chance for her to correct her wrongs and build her career all over again. As she acknowledged on Tuesday, she still has a lot of fire left in her. The decision of the organizers of the Brisbane International to hand her the wildcard must have been in recognition of her superior talent.
Sharapova, who admitted that she never saw herself playing past the age of 30, now 32, would also need a wildcard if she is to take part in the Australian Open that comes later in the month. Announcing the news of her participation in Brisbane, she expressed that she has missed Brisbane and its fans. She believes that she has a lot to accomplish if her shoulder does not get in the way.
Taking part in the event is Australian Ashleigh Barty, current world number one, Naomi Osaka, the defending Australian Open Champion, and Karolina Pliskova, who is also the defending champion of the Brisbane International.