Sharapova to return from doping ban in April in Stuttgart

Maria Sharapova has not played a professional match since the Australian Open in January 2016 (Source: BBC)

Maria Sharapova will make her professional comeback at the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart on 26 April after her 15-month doping suspension.

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

Her suspension was then reduced in October following an appeal.

The tournament in Germany starts two days before the Russian’s suspension runs out and she will not be allowed to attend until the day of her match.

Sharapova, whose main sponsor is Porsche, will return to tennis without a ranking and needs a wild card to enter the tournament.

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

“I can’t wait to see all my great fans and to be back doing what I love.”

The five-time Grand Slam champion won the Stuttgart title for three years in a row from 2012 to 2014.

She last played a professional tournament at the Australian Open 12 months ago, where she failed the doping test.

Sharapova was a long-time user of meldonium and says she was unaware it had been added to the banned list at the start of 2016.

She has already taken part in two exhibition events since her ban was reduced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. (BBC Sport)

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