Sharapova to make return at Stuttgart Open

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Maria Sharapova will make her return to the WTA Tour at the Stuttgart Open in late April after the end of a doping ban for a failed test at the 2016 Australian Open.

The Russian was the subject of a suspension that was initially due to run until January 2018 after testing positive for banned substance meldonium at the opening major of last year.

The former world number one claimed to be unaware that meldonium had been added to WADA's prohibited list at the start of 2016 and duly appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which subsequently found in her favour and announced in October that her ban would conclude in April 2017.

On Tuesday, it was confirmed that Sharapova would make her comeback at the WTA Premier clay-court event, which she won three years in succession between 2012 and 2014.

This year's tournament begins on April 26, with the French Open at Roland Garros set to get under way in May.

"I could not be happier to have my first match back on tour at one of my favourite tournaments," said Sharapova.

"I can't wait? to see all my great fans and to be back doing what I love."

Tournament director Markus Gunthardt 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."