Maria Sharapova will make her professional tennis comeback at the Porsche Grand Prix in April, following a doping ban.

The former world No 1 is serving a 15-month ban after testing positive for meldonium in January 2016, and is eligible to compete again on April 26.

Sharapova has received a wildcard to enter the tournament in Germany, and will return to tennis without a ranking.

However, as the tournament starts two days before her suspension expires, the two-time French Open champion will not be allowed to attend until the Wednesday, the day of her first match.

I could not be happier to have my first match back on tour at one of my favourite tournaments,  Sharapova said. I can’t wait to see all my great fans and to be back doing what I love.

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.

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

The five-time grand slam champion was initially banned for two years by the International Tennis Federation, but that was reduced to 15 months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in October.

Tournament director Markus Günthardt added: 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.

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.

Sharapova has already taken part in two exhibition events since the CAS verdict was announced – playing at the World Team Tennis Smash Hits in Las Vegas and then taking on Olympic champion Monica Puig in Puerto Rico.
 

(c) Sky News 2017: Sharapova to make tennis comeback in Germany after drugs ban

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