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MOSCOW, January 10. /TASS/. Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova is set to make her comeback following a doping suspension on April 26 at the tennis tournament in Stuttgart, the tournament’s press service announced.
"Fans of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix can look forward to Maria Sharapova making her eagerly-awaited return to professional tennis at the long-standing tournament in Stuttgart," the press service reported.
"The 29-year old former world No. 1 and five-time Grand Slam winner will play her first match in the Porsche Arena on 26 April, the day she can start competing again at tournaments."
Sharapova, who is currently under suspension over anti-doping rules violations, was allowed last year by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to play at exhibition matches before her ban expires. She already played two exhibition matches.
The tennis star returns without ranking and will need a wildcard to enter the tournament in Stuttgart, which can be considered as Sharapova’s most favorite ones since she won it three times in a row between 2012 and 2014.
"I could not be happier to have my first match back on tour at one of my favorite tournaments," Sharapova was quoted as saying by the tournament’s press service.
"I can't wait to see all my great fans and to be back doing what I love," she added.
The tennis player has been serving a two-year suspension for the violation of anti-doping regulations since January 26 last year. However, the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled on October 4, 2016 to reduce her suspension term from 24 to 15 months. Sharapova is officially eligible to make her comeback on April 26 this year.
Last March, Sharapova was first to announce that her doping tests revealed the presence of performance enhancing drug meldonium in the body system. Following the announcement, former World’s No. 1 was provisionally suspended from all tennis-related activities.
In early June, Sharapova filed an appeal with the CAS in Switzerland’s Lausanne against her two-year suspension, which was officially announced on June 8 by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Tribunal over anti-doping violations.
Due to the imposed ban Sharapova, the silver Olympic medalist of the 2012 Games in London, had to miss the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, held last August in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro.
Mildronate is a cardiovascular preparation freely available for purchase at pharmacies across Russia without a doctor’s prescription.