Sharapova to return to competitive tennis at Stuttgart in April

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Sharapova to return to competitive tennis at Stuttgart in April

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SportsCafe Desk

01/11/2017

Five-time grand slam champion Maria Sharapova will make her competitive return at the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart in April after serving a 15-month doping ban. The former world No 1 was initially banned for two years before the Court of Arbitration for Sport reduced her sentence by nine months.

The tournament in Germany starts two days before her suspension ends, and she will not be allowed to attend until the day of her match. Sharapova has not played a professional match since the Australian Open in January last year after testing positive for meldonium.

“I could not be happier to have my first match back on tour at one of my favourite tournaments,” Sharapova said on the tournament website.

“I can’t wait‎ to see all my great fans and to be back doing what I love,” added the Russian, who won the indoor clay event three years running from 2012.

Stuttgart Grand Prix tournament director Markus Guenthardt expressed his happiness at the return of Sharapova in this tournament.

“I’m really happy for Maria that she’s back after a long break. Particularly pleasing for me is that it’s going to be our audience that gets to watch her comeback live,” he said. “(It)...is certain to be one of the sporting and emotional highlights of our anniversary tournament.”

The doping suspension kept the 29-year-old Sharapova out of last year’s French Open, Wimbledon and US Open as well as the Olympics in Rio. She will also miss this month’s Australian Open and is hopeful of getting a wildcard at the French Open.

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