Tags: maria sharapova | tennis | return | porsche grand prix

Maria Sharapova to Return to Tennis at Porsche Grand Prix in April

Image: Maria Sharapova to Return to Tennis at Porsche Grand Prix in April

Russia's Maria Sharapova hits a shot during a practice session at Melbourne Park, Australia, Jan. 14, 2016. (David Gray/Reuters/File Photo)

By    |   Tuesday, 10 Jan 2017 01:13 PM

Maria Sharapova will make her first tournament appearance since her 15-month doping suspension in April when she takes part in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany.

Sharapova, one of the biggest names in women's professional tennis, has not played since last year's Australian Open after failing a doping test, BBC Sports noted. She was originally banned for two years last March because of a positive test for meldonium, but her ban was shortened in October following an appeal, according to BBC Sports.

Sharapova had argued that she had taken meldonium for years because of a health condition and did not realize it was added to the banned list at the start of 2016, BBC Sports said.

"I could not be happier to have my first match back on tour at one of my favorite tournaments," Sharapova said in a statement on the Porsche website Tuesday. "I can't wait‎ to see all my great fans and to be back doing what I love."

Sharapova has won the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in 2012, 2013 and 2014, noted the Porsche website. This year's tournament, which will be held April 22-30, will feature current champion and world's No. 1 player Angelique Kerber.

"I'm really happy for Maria that she's back after a long break," Porsche tournament director Markus Günthardt said in a statement. "Particularly pleasing for me is that it's going to be our audience that gets to watch her comeback live.

"Her return in the Porsche Arena is a fabulous present for our fantastic spectators and is certain to be one of the sporting and emotional highlights of our anniversary tournament," he continued.

Since the ban, Nike initially suspended its relationship with the star but returned to support her, BBC News noted. Racket manufacturer Head and the bottled water company Evian continued to stand by Sharapova, who was once the highest-grossing female athlete in tennis.

Tag Heuer left Sharapova last March along with Avon, but the cosmetics company claimed that it had nothing to do with the ban, reported the BBC News.

The Russian tennis sensation missed the last three major tennis tournaments of 2016 and the Summer Olympic Games in Brazil because of the ban.

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Maria Sharapova will make her first tournament appearance since her 15-month doping suspension in April when she takes part in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany.
maria sharapova, tennis, return, porsche grand prix
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2017-13-10
Tuesday, 10 Jan 2017 01:13 PM
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