According to Yahoo.com, Women’s professional tennis player, Maria Sharapova, will make her return to top-level tennis at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany, on April 26 following her 15-month doping suspension. The 29-year-old, five-time Grand Slam winner tested positive for meldonium on January 26, 2016 at the Australian Open. Meldonium is a cardiac medicine that’s popular with Russian athletes and it was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited list in 2016.
The tennis star has admitted using meldonium since 2006 for a number of health issues, but that she didn’t know it was a banned substance. This past October, Sharapova’s two-year ban by the International Tennis Federation was reduced, by appeal, to 15 months by the Court of Arbitration. The new ruling allows Sharapova to professionally compete as early as April.
Having last played at the Australian Open in January, 12 months ago, Sharapova will come back without a rank, and needing a wild-card to participate in the competition. Just this week, Porsche, which sponsors both Sharapova and the Grand Prix, said in a press release that Sharapova has been given a wild-card entry into the tournament.
“I could not be happier to have my first match back on tour at one of my favorite tournaments,” Sharapova said in a press release, “I can’t wait to see all my great fans and to be back doing what I love.”
This is good news for the former world-number-one female tennis player, who won the Stuttgart tournament three years in a row from 2012-2014.