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Confirms Comeback Date, Sharapova Not Happy

Confirms Comeback Date, Sharapova Not Happy
Maria Sharaprova
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LOS ANGELES - Sharapova is set to make her official return from a doping suspension on April 26 after the former world number one was granted a wildcard entry to Stuttgart's Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.

The tournament starts on April 24, with the 29 year old Maria Sharapova, who hasn't been involved a competitive match since the Australian Open in January 2016, due to play on the day her 15 month ban comes to an end.

The Russian has been keeping fit ahead of her comeback, appearing in a Las Vegas charity event in October 2016, and then playing an exhibition match against Olympic singles champion Monica Puig in Puerto Rico last month.

"I could not be happier to have my first match back on tour at one of my favorite tournaments," said Sharapova, a three-time winner at the annual clay court event.

Head of WTA, Steve Simon, has already said he is looking forward to Sharapova's return, a sentiment echoed by Porsche Tennis Tournament Director, Markus Günthardt  but not everyone on the tour has been so welcoming.

WTA Finals winner, Dominika Cibulkova, shortly after Sharapova admitted to the failed drug test, labeled her "unlikeable, arrogant, conceited and cold."

The Russian was initially banned for two years by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) after testing positive for the banned substance meldonium in January 2016.

In October, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) reduced the sanction by nine months, saying she bore "no significant fault or negligence."