Former world number ones and multiple major champions Maria Sharapova of Russia and Venus Williams of the US have been awarded wildcards for the Cincinnati Open.
On Monday, the organisers announced that both players will join the main draw fielded for the tournament that will be held from August 10-18, reports Xinhua news agency.
“Maria and Venus are two of the greatest champions in tennis history,” said Cincinnati Open Tournament Director Andre Silva. “We look forward to both joining our world-class field and are eager for the tournament to get underway next weekend.”
Sharapova owns 36 career titles, including five at major tournaments, and is one of just six women to have achieved a career Grand Slam. She is the last teenager to win a major title, doing so at the Wimbledon 15 years ago at the age of 17.
Sharapova has spent 21 weeks in her career as the No.1 ranked player.
In her career, Williams has won 49 titles, including seven at Grand Slam tournaments. She has been a finalist at all four Grand Slam events, finishing as runner-up nine times, most recently at the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2017. Williams has held the WTA No.1 ranking for 11 weeks. She also won the singles gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.