Maria Sharapova awarded AO2020 wildcard

  • AAP / ausopen.com

Maria Sharapova will receive an Australian Open wildcard as she attempts to regain some of the form that won her the title in 2008. 

The announcement is positive news for the Russian after a Brisbane International first-round loss on Tuesday night, which added to a less-than-ideal Grand Slam build-up that included a trip to the hospital.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley revealed on Wednesday that former world No.1 and five-time major champion Sharapova will receive a wildcard entry as she attempts to improve her current world ranking of No.147.

TICKETS: catch Maria Sharapova in action at AO2020

"To be in the draw of the Australian Open is incredible," Sharapova said.

"I've had wonderful experiences there, from holding the championship trophy to losing some very tough finals as well -- there's been a lot of ups and downs in Australia.

"So to have another chance, another opportunity, to compete on all those courts is very special.

"I've always structured my schedule to compete the best that I can to be in the best physical shape for those tournaments. It's never really been so much about ranking; (it's more about) can I get further maybe than the previous year? Can I do better? Can I challenge myself?

"So it's kind of always been my thinking process, but even more so because I have to be a little bit smarter toward the end of my career."

"I've had wonderful experiences there, from holding the championship trophy to losing some very tough finals as well -- there's been a lot of ups and downs in Australia."
Maria Sharapova

Sharapova was disappointed after being bounced out of the Brisbane International by American qualifier Jennifer Brady in three tough sets.

The 32-year-old is battling after being frustrated by a recurring shoulder complaint that limited her to just eight events and 15 matches in 2019.

But it wasn't the shoulder that caused problems before the Brisbane International, her first tournament since last September's US Open.

"I've been fighting virus for a couple weeks and ended up in the hospital the other day, so that wasn't fun," she revealed.

"I just couldn't keep anything in (but) that's the extent that I'm going to share with you."

Despite her build-up, Sharapova initially didn't show any signs of rust in her opening clash with world No.53 Brady. However, the more the American qualifier fought, the more Sharapova fatigued on Brisbane's stadium court.

"I think I'm always disappointed because it's a result-oriented sport but I have to be proud of my effort," she said.

"Yes there are a lot of improvements I need to make but I fought really hard. I think I did a lot better than I expected of my body."

The Australian Open begins at Melbourne Park on Monday 20 January.