Maria Sharapova set to return at the 2017 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart,Germany

Maria Sharapova set to return at the 2017  Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart,Germany
Maria Sharapova during a charity exhibition match in October 2016.
REX Shutterstock

The 29-year-old Russian Tennis Player whom was banned after her french Open 2016 for doping has officially announced she would be back on court for the first time in over a Year after her 15 months ban expires on the 25th of April 2016.

According to Footnews, “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.”

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While Sharapova will miss this month’s Australian Open, she’ll be back in time for the second Grand Slam tournament of 2017, the French Open in May. Sharapova won titles at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Grand Prix tournament director Markus Günthardt said he is excited that Sharapova will be making her comeback at his tournament.

“I’m really happy for Maria that she’s back after a long break,” he said. “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.”

The five-time Grand Slam winner could face a challenge from current No. 1-ranked player Angelique Kerber, the tournament’s defending champion. The tournament says it will be hosting a total of eight top 10 players.

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Initially a two-year ban, Sharapova’s suspension was reduced to 15 months after an appeal in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The CAS said that it found Sharapova had taken meldonium based on a doctor’s recommendation, and that “she took the substance with the good-faith belief that it was appropriate and compliant with the relevant rules and her anti-doping obligations.” The court also said Sharapova had not been clearly informed by anti-doping authorities of the change in rules and was not an “intentional doper.”

During the proceedings, Nike had suspended its contract with Sharapova but said it hoped to continue partnering with her. In 2010, Sharapova extended her contract with the brand for $70 million.

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