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Maria Sharapova to make her comeback from doping ban in Germany

The former world No.1 women's tennis player, Maria Sharapova, is to return to action at a tournament in Germany after having served her doping ban. She was banned after a positive test at last year's Australian Open.

A statement posted on the website of carmaker German carmaker Porsche, which happens to sponsor both the Stuttgart Grand Prix and the Russian tennis player, said Maria Sharapova would make her return at the event on April 26, the third day of main-draw play - and the day her doping ban expires. 

Porsche said the 29-year-old Sharapova had been given a wild-card entry into the tournament; something that she will have to rely on for a while, because her ban meant that she has falling out of the world rankings, which only count tournament performances from the previous 12 months.

"I could not be happier to have my first match back on tour at one of my favorite tournaments," said Sharapova, who won the Stuttgart tournament from 2012-14. "I can't wait to see all my great fans and to be back doing what I love."

The International Tennis Federation banned Sharapova from competition for two years after she tested positive for meldonium at last year's Australian Open. That was reduced to 15 months on appeal. The five-time Grand Slam winner said she had used the drug for years and had not known that it had been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of banned substances at the start of 2016.

pfd/rd (Reuters)

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