Maria Sharapova (Player Bio) has successfully earned a spot in next week’s TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships, despite nearly spending the event sidelined due to her recurring shoulder bursitis.
The former World Number 1 had to pull out of the US Open, the Pan Pacific Open and the China Open this year to give her injury time to heal. The bursitis is reurring in the same shoulder that saw the 26-year old undergo surgery in 2008.
Currently third in the overall women’s WTA rankings, Sharapova hasn’t had a bad season despite her injury problems. She won titles this year in Indian Wells and Stuttart and also finished as runner up at the French Open and in events in Miami and Madrid. These premier-level wins have helped Sharapova make her seventh qualification for the Istanbul event, where she has managed to claim the title back in 2004 and finished runner-up twice (2007, 2012).
World Number 4 Agnieszka Radwanska (Player Bio), who has enjoyed title wins in Sydney, Auckland and Seoul this year has also been granted entry, and a strong finish in Istanbul could potentially she her overtake Sharapova in the year end rankings.
The reigning Number 1 doubles team of Sara Errani (Player Bio) and Roberta Vinci (Player Bio) will also be joining Radwanska, Sharapova and previously confirmed players Serena Williams (Player Bio) and Victoria Azarenka (Player Bio). The duo picked up their third Grand Slam title at the Australian Open this year and also won titles in Paris and Doha.
WTA Chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster confirmed that the organisation is “excited to add Maria, Agnieszka, Sara and Roberta to the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships-Istanbul player field, although Maria continues to rehab from her injury”.
After the Grand Slams, the Istanbul title is the most prestigious on the WTA calendar, and this year the top 8 singles and top 4 doubles players will compete for a record-setting prize money purse of $6 million.