Maria Sharapova has accepted a wildcard into the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, which begins this Sunday. She's been sidelined since Wimbledon due to a right leg injury.
WTA Staff

WUHAN, China - Maria Sharapova, who has been sidelined since Wimbledon due to a right leg injury, has announced she will return to the tour at next week's Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open in Wuhan.

"I'm looking forward to getting back onto the match court in Wuhan," Sharapova said. "I have been working hard to get myself ready to compete again, and I can't wait to get back out there.

"I really enjoyed my visit to Wuhan last year."

Yi Guoqing, Tournament Director in Wuhan, was just as thrilled with the announcement.

"We are delighted to welcome Maria back to Wuhan," he commented. "Maria is an icon for tennis and for sport around the world. She joins an incredibly strong field of players for this year's tournament."

With the No.3-ranked Sharapova in, the field now includes 18 of the Top 19 players in the world.

It's been a difficult summer for Sharapova. After recording her best Wimbledon result in four years, reaching the semis there before falling to Serena Williams, and spending much of the summer behind the American at No.2, the Russian has dipped to No.3 after missing the entire summer hardcourt season - she pulled out of lead-ups in Toronto and Cincinnati and then the big one, the US Open.

Sharapova sent out this tweet while watching the US Open final - a hint at her imminent return:

But the five-time Grand Slam champion and former No.1 is finally going to be back on the court again now, and China has been very good to her in the past - she won the China Open in Beijing last year.

If Sharapova wins in Wuhan next week, it'll be the sixth country she'll have won multiple WTA events in, after the United States (WTA Finals, Indian Wells, San Diego, Amelia Island, Memphis and Cincinnati), Australia (Brisbane and Australian Open) England (Birmingham and Wimbledon), France (Strasbourg and Roland Garros) and Japan (Tokyo [Pan Pacific] and Tokyo [Japan Open]).