Search on for 5 Indonesians snatched anew in Lahad Datu “When it comes to tennis, good or bad — there’s really only one thing that I know for certain — I’ve missed it,” Sharapova wrote on the Players’ Tribune website.“Though these last two years have been tougher -— so much tougher -— than I ever could have anticipated… my passion for the game has never wavered. If anything, it has only grown stronger.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’Sharapova was issued a two-year suspension after testing positive for the banned heart and blood boosting drug meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport reduced the ban on appeal.She said that she had taken it for several years and did not know it had been placed on the banned list at the start of 2016. Sharapova made her return in April at Stuttgart, reaching the semi-finals as a wildcard, but such invitations sparked criticism from some WTA rivals, saying she should have to work her way back without such benefits, some suggesting a life ban.“I’m aware of what many of my peers have said about me and how critical of me some of them have been,” she wrote.“If you’re a human being with a normal, beating heart… I don’t think that sort of thing will ever fully be possible to ignore.”Sharapova was refused a wildcard by French Open organizers and missed Wimbledon with a thigh injury, so the US Open will be her first Grand Slam event since last year’s Australian Open.Shaking off criticism after the French Open snub, Sharapova tweeted, “If this is what it takes to rise up again, then I am in it all the way, everyday. No words, games or actions will ever stop me from reaching my own dreams. And I have many.”ADVERTISEMENT View comments What’s in store for your animal sign this year Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next SEA Games: ‘Stand-in’ Ferrera nails hammer throw bronze Bishop Baylon encourages faithful in Albay to help Taal evacuees Police seize P68-M worth of ‘shabu’ in Pasay Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to give up royal titles LATEST STORIES FILE – In this Aug. 27, 2014, file photo, Maria Sharapova, of Russia, returns a shot to Alexandra Dulgheru, of Romania, during the second round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, in New York. Sharapova has been granted a wild-card invitation for the U.S. Open’s main draw. Sharapova is among eight women who were given entry into the 128-player field by the U.S. Tennis Association on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, and by far the most noteworthy. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow, File)Former world number one Maria Sharapova makes her first Grand Slam appearance next week since serving a 15-month doping suspension, bringing renewed passion and resolve to the US Open.The 30-year-old Russian was given a wildcard into the tournament by the US Tennis Association (USTA), a move critics complained about earlier in the season but another key step in the road back for the five-time Grand Slam winner.ADVERTISEMENT Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks PLAY LIST 01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite MOST READ Marcosian mode: Duterte threatens to arrest water execs ‘one night’ National Historical team rescues Amorsolos, artifacts from Taal OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Hotdog’s Dennis Garcia dies Sharapova has missed three of the past four US Opens, her last visit ending in the 2014 fourth round.The USTA defended its wildcard offer, saying, “Her suspension under the terms of the tennis anti-doping program was completed and therefore was not one of the factors weighed in our wildcard selection process.”“Consistent with past practice, a wildcard was provided to a past US champion who needed the wildcard for entry into the main draw.”Former world number one Sharapova won the 2006 US Open as well as Wimbledon in 2004, the 2008 Australian Open and the 2012 and 2014 French Opens.“I’m sure this is a great moment for her to have an opportunity to be back to a place where she has done so well,” seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams said.Sharapova plays catch-upSharapova was bolstered by fans with “Welcome back Maria” signs in Germany and cheering support last month in Stanford, her first US match in more than two years.“I feel like I just want to hug everyone and say thank you,” Sharapova said.Sharapova defeated American Jennifer Brady 6-1, 4-6, 6-0 in her Stanford opener but suffered a left forearm injury and has not played competitively since.“I feel like I’m playing catch-up against everyone who has had a head start,” she said of being hurt during US Open tuneup events.