CINCINNATI, OH, USA - Former World No.1s and multiple major champions Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams have been awarded the first wild cards for the 2019 Western & Southern Open. Both players join the main draw field for the tournament that will be held August 10-18 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio.
“Maria and Venus are two of the greatest champions in tennis history,” said Western & Southern 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 Wimbledon 15 years ago at the age of 17. Sharapova also reached 23 WTA finals, which includes a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics. She has spent 21 weeks in her career as the No.1 ranked player.
Runner-up to Kim Clijsters in her 2010 W&S Open debut, Sharapova defeated four Top 15 players en route to the 2011 title. She boasts a 13-3 record at the event in her career, including a run to the semifinals in 2014, her last appearance at the tournament.
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. She has held the WTA No.1 ranking for 11 weeks. She won the singles gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and counts three gold medals and 14 majors among her 22 career doubles titles - all of which have come with her sister, Serena.
The 39-year-old Williams made her WTA debut in 1994 at Oakland.
Williams will be playing the Western & Southern Open for a seventh time. Her best result was a semifinal in 2012, when she lost to eventual champion Li Na. She owns an 8-5 record at the event, and last played here in 2017.