Maria Sharapova scheduled to return April 26 at Stuttgart

By The Sports Xchange   |   Jan. 10, 2017 at 10:29 PM
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Maria Sharapova is slated to return to the women's tennis circuit on April 26 when she competes in the Porsche Grand Prix at Stuttgart, Germany.

Sharapova is currently serving a 15-month suspension for testing positive for the banned substance meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.

Her opening-round match would fall on her first day that she's eligible to play in a WTA event.

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

Sharapova's first match falls on a Wednesday. She isn't allowed to be on the tournament grounds prior to that day.

The five-time Grand Slam champ will enter the tournament as a wild card as she no longer has a ranking.

"Maria is eligible to return to professional tennis beginning on April 26th," WTA CEO Steve Simon said in a statement. "This will be the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart's 40th anniversary and I'm sure the fans there will be excited to see her play."

Sharapova, 29, was originally banned for two years but later had her penalty reduced to 15 months.

Sharapova said she had been taking the drug since 2006 for health problems and had "not tried to use a performance-enhancing substance." In addition, she claimed to be unaware the drug had been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned list.

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