Maria Sharapova in action at the Brisbane International. Picture: Getty
Maria Sharapova in action at the Brisbane International. Picture: Getty

Sharapova among Aus Open wildcards

FORMER world No 1 Maria Sharapova has been granted an Australian Open singles wildcard, sparing the 2008 Melbourne Park champion the ignominy of qualifying.

Winner of five major singles crowns, Sharapova has slipped to No. 147 and was beaten by US qualifier Jennifer Brady in the Brisbane International's first-round on Tuesday night.

Sharapova, 32, is clearly the highest-profile player to earn a wildcard for the January 20-February 2 grand slam.

Watch over 50 sports LIVE on Kayo! Stream to your TV, mobile, tablet or computer. Just $25/month, cancel anytime. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >

The Russian joins American CoCo Vandeweghe, Korean Han-Na Lae, France's Pauline Parmentier and Australians Priscilla Hon, Lizette Cabrera, Astra Sharma and Arina Rodionova in the 128-player field.

Tennis Australia will reveal its final two men's singles wildcard selections on Thursday.

American Marcos Giron, Japan's Tatsuma Ito, France's Hugo Gaston have already received wildcards, joining Australians John-Patrick Smith, Alex Bolt and Marc Polmans.

Sharapova revealed post-match in Brisbane she had been suffering a virus.

The baseliner has an impressive 57-14 record at Melbourne Park, where she has reached four finals.

She departed in the fourth round last year after a tough three-set clash with Ash Barty.