Yesterday, I wrote that Maria Sharapova was open to receiving a wild card to Charleston. In the meantime, she has signed on as a regular entrant. Though I cannot confirm it, I heard that this move was made possible because Julia Vakulenko has withdrawn.
As thrilled as I am about Sharapova's inclusion, I'm sorry to hear that Vakulenko will not be there. Last year, I was her one-woman cheering section and support at one of her matches. Vakulenko has a long history of injury, and it seems that just when she gets into good form, something else happens to her.
This news also means that Charleston's favorite, Patty Schnyder, has lost her first-round bye--unless one of the top players withdraws, which is always possible.
Sharapova entered the Family Circle Cup last year, but was one of several top players who had to withdraw because of injury.