Maria Sharapova to make comeback after doping ban in Stuttgart

Maria Sharapova will start her comeback road in Stuttgart.

The former womens' tennis world number one Maria Sharapova, victor of five grand slam titles, will make her comeback after a 15-month drugs ban in April at the Stuttgart Grand Prix, an indoor clay court tournament she won three years in a row from 2012.

Although the tournament starts on April 22, Sharapova is scheduled to play her first match on April 26, the first day after her suspension for testing positive for the banned heartdrug meldonium ends.

Launching her comeback in Stuttgart makes sense for several reasons.

Stuttgart is one of Sharapova's most successful events, with the 29-year-old having won the title for three years in a row from 2012 to 2014.

The Russian will have to rely on wild-card invites to tournaments, including Grand Slams, for a while because her ban means she has fallen out of the world rankings, which only count tournament performances over the preceding 12 months. "I can't wait to see all my great fans and to be back doing what I love", she told Porsche's official website.

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

Last October, Sharapova scored a partial victory in her appeal of an initial two-year doping ban.

She had called the International Tennis Federation's (ITF) original ruling "unfairly harsh" as an independent tribunal had found she had not intentionally violated anti-doping rules.

Maria Sharapova has announced that she will make her professional tennis comeback at the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart in April.

"I'm sure the fans will be excited to see her play", WTA CEO Steve Simon said in a statement.

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