Tennis - Former World No. 5 Sara Errani has been awarded a wildcard for the ASB Classic in Auckland next week. The 30-year-old Italian is currently ranked No. 132 in the world after serving a two-month ban for failing a drugs test.
The Italian faced a reduced sentence after claiming that the banned substance, letrozole, came into her system as her mother's breast cancer medication accidentally dropped into the food that she had eaten. The former French Open finalist reached the semi-finals of the WTA Tianjin event and also won an ITF event since her comeback in October and has climbed more than 100 spots in the rankings already.
Tournament Director Karl Budge commented, "The WTA is pretty happy with her playing tennis and so are we. You have these players in place that you know if you need to give a wildcard to at the last minute, you can. Sara was always looking at coming and playing doubles out here, although we had a conversation with her about four weeks about giving her a main draw wildcard if we had that opportunity.
I couldn't promise anything four weeks ago, but we always knew it was likely we'd offer her one closer to the time." Budge says Errani could be a threat to the top players and he would not like her to face one of the top seeds in the early rounds.
"She's a top 20 player, she's been a top 10 player for a long time, so she'll be tough to beat. She'll be unseeded, so where she lands, we don't know. I wouldn't like her taking on a Caroline Wozniacki or Agnieszka Radwanska for their first match of the year.
She's a very solid player, you don't get to grand slam finals without being solid. It's a good addition to the draw at this time of year." There are two more wild cards yet to be awarded by the tournament. Also Read - Azarenka Withdraws from Auckland Due to Custody Dispute