Angelique Kerber, the returning champion at the 2017 US Open, and Simona Halep, an aspiring World No. 1, both took part in interviews on Saturday about the 2017 US Open. One question that both players faced had to do with Maria Sharapova and the wild card that she received into the main draw of Flushing Meadows. Both Kerber and Halep answered the same way.

Not their decisions to make

According to Kerber, the decision to admit Sharapova into the main draw despite her ranking not warranting it was "not (her) decision." She further stated that "This is a decision, of course, from the tournament...this is all actually I can say." Halep made very similar remarks: "About wildcard, the tournament decided, so they can do anything they want.

Is not my position to talk about this" (Kerber and Halep both qtd. at the website, Aug. 26).

Between Kerber and Halep, the matter of Sharapova's wild card is an issue more pertinent to the latter. The World No. 2 is yet again playing in a tournament where she has the chance to emerge as the World No. 1 player. That's a challenge that Kerber faced and met a year ago on tour. However, Halep will have to defeat Sharapova in the very first round. The Russian is 6-0 against Halep, the No. 2 seed in Flushing Meadows. Usually being seeded in a tournament means avoiding the other high-caliber players early in the draw. However, Sharapova is a dangerous floater, and the bad luck was with Halep.

This bad luck is another topic she addressed in her Saturday interview.

Halep acted "normal" after receiving the news

Halep claimed that when she received the message that she would play Sharapova in the first round her reaction "was normal." According to Halep, she has "had very tough draws every time almost. Of course," Halep continued, she "was a little bit, like, How is possible again?

Just first round of a Grand Slam. But I felt okay. I did my practice normal. I didn't have, like, something emotional. I'm normal."

Looking back at Halep's season it's not too clear what tough draw she might be referring to. In Cincinnati, her first match was against World No. 134 Taylor Townsend. She had a tough draw in Washington as she had to face Sloane Stephens in the first round.

But in a lot of other tournaments, Halep's early-round luck has been pretty balanced between good and bad. Certainly nothing before this year compares to having to face Sharapova in the first round at Flushing Meadows.

The two players are on the schedule of play for Monday from New York. They will open the evening session in a match that looks like the "main event" for the day of women's singles. That night session starts at 7 pm ET in Arthur Ashe Stadium.