Putting aside all the critics and controversies she has been subject to throughout the years, Maria Sharapova still stands as one of the most prominent female tennis players of the past decade. With five Grand Slam titles under her belt, she comes the third behind the Williams' sisters in this matter. Resuming her professional career after spending 15 months away from the circuit due to a doping scandal she may not be done yet. After all, she is just 30-years-old, and she might have a couple of seasons left ahead. Back in April, she made her first steps during the clay court swing reaching the semis in Stuttgart, while in Madrid and Rome went off early.

In Rome, she was forced to withdraw due to a hip injury, and that was her last professional event she attended to date.

US Open Series could easily bring her inside the top 100

In the spring, she benefited from three wild-card entries at those clay court events. The scenario will repeat itself as Maria Sharapova received a slot in the main draw at Stanford ( Premier) and Toronto (Premier 5). These two upcoming WTA events might see Sharapova soaring up the ranking and eventually reenter the top 100 or even higher. All that she needs is a favorable draw and several wins in a row to earn few hundred points.

Then, 2017 US Open will come, and the 30-year-old Russian tennis star will have to wait for a decision in this case.

The initial entry list is out, but she isn't among the accepted names due to her current ranking status (173 WTA). There are two possibilities for Sharapova to attend her first Grand Slam since 2016 Australian Open. She will have to wait for a wild-card entry from the organizers or she could opt for playing the qualifying stages.

Due to the doping scandal, she was a part in; she didn't receive a wild-card at the French Open.

WTA circuit needs an in-form Sharapova

It's obvious that a name like Sharapova cannot be ignored too long. After all, she is one of the few who could easily fill up an entire arena. Moreover, she remains a fierce opponent. Despite lacking official matches, she had some great moments during the clay swing.

It's unfortunate that a hip injury forced her to take another break from playing. If she manages to settle in on the hardcourts, she could easily go in the favorites' box for the US Open. It's been nearly eleven years since Sharapova completed her only US Open success after a final with Justine Henin-Hardenne. One thing is for sure, in the absence of Serena Williams, the women's tennis needs Sharapova as an active athlete.