Sharapova picks Stuttgart for her comeback
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The eagerly awaited return of Maria Sharapova to the circuit following her 15 month doping ban, has been confirmed and she will make her first official public appearance on court on April 26 at the WTA Stuttgart clay court tournament.
I could not be happier to have my first match back on tour at one of my favourite tournaments
The last day of her ban is April 25 and as a consequence, she will not be allowed to practice, collect her accreditation or even set foot in the club, until the morning of the 26th when her ban officially expires. All in strict compliance with the rules!
She was originally banned for two years by the ITF for testing positive for meldonium at last yearÈs Australian Open but that was reduced to 15 months following her appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The 29-year-old Russian, winner of five grand slam titles, has only lost once in Stuttgart to Angelique Kerber in 2015 winning the title there over three previous consecutive years in 2012-14.
The Queen of Shrieks has been given a wildcard to this yearÈs event and the draw allows for her to play her first match on April 26. Eight of the worldÈs top ten are scheduled to compete including the current world number one and defending champion, Kerber.
"I could not be happier to have my first match back on tour at one of my favourite tournaments," said Sharapova. "I can’t wait to see all my great fans and to be back doing what I love."
Markus Guenthardt, the tournament director, will be delighted at her arrival which will generate additional interest in the event. "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.