“Maria and Venus are two of the greatest champions in tennis history,” Tournament Director Andre Silva said. “We look forward to both joining our world-class field and are eager for the tournament to get underway next weekend.”
Williams and Sharapova suffered disappointing first-round exits at Wimbledon (Getty Images)
Williams is 14-8 this season but has seen her ranking drop outside of the Top 50. She returns to action this week in San Jose—where she also received a wild card—to play her first match since being upstaged by 15-year-old qualifier Coco Gauff in the first round of Wimbledon. Williams is expected to face countrywoman Bethanie Mattek-Sands on Tuesday.
Sharapova, who lifted the Cincinnati trophy eight years ago, has questions regarding her health. After returning in mid-June from a shoulder injury that sidelined her for nearly six months, the Russian retired down 0-5 in the third set of her opening Wimbledon match against Pauline Parmentier due to a left forearm issue.
The pair of past No. 1s join 43 players who made the initial entry list cutoff, including world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, 23-time major winner Serena Williams and defending Cincinnati champion Kiki Bertens. Three additional wild cards are yet to be allocated.