Maria Sharapova To Make Comeback From Ban In Stuttgart In April

The tennis star returns without ranking it will need a wildcard to enter the tournament in Stuttgart, which can be considered as Sharapova's most favorite ones since she won it three times in a row between 2012 and 2014.

The 29-year-old former world number one was given a two-year ban in March after testing positive for meldonium.

'I could not be happier to have my first match back on tour at one of my favourite tournaments!' the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model gushed in the official press release.

Auto manufacturer Porsche, which sponsors both Sharapova and the event in Stuttgart, said Tuesday that Sharapova has been given a wild-card entry into the tournament. "I'm really happy for Maria that she's back after a long break".

Sharapova hasn't stepped on a professional tennis court since the Australian Open a full year ago due to her World Anti-Doping Agency substance controversy.

Tournament director Markus Günthardt described her return as "a fabulous present" to his tournament.

The five-time Grand Slam champion had been taking the Russian heartdrug mildronate/meldonium - which optimises the use of oxygen - for a decade to treat 'magnesium deficiency and an irregular EKG'. The tournament says it will be hosting a total of eight top-10 players.

Her suspension started from January 26, 2016, and will expire this year on April 26, which will allow her to compete at The Porsche Tennis Grand Prix that will be held from April 22 to 30 in Stuttgart.

She will make the comeback ending her 15-month doping suspension. The court also said Sharapova had not been clearly informed by anti-doping authorities of the change in rules and was not an "intentional doper".

  • Stacy Allen