After having served a reduced 15 month ban from tennis for using the banned substance, Meldonium, former World No. 1 and five-time Grand Slam champion, Maria Sharapova will be returning to the WTA tour, after being handed a wild card for the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany.
Sharapova, a three-time winner of this tournament, will face Italy’s Roberta Vinci in the Round of 32 on Tuesday. Sharapova came up trumps in their previous two meetings, played in 2007 and 2012.
During her absence from the tour, Sharapova attended the Harvard Business School and continued promoting her Sugarpova range of candy.
There are mixed feelings leading up to Sharapovas return, as she has also been handed wild cards for the Madrid and Italian Opens. Several of the top players, who have acknowledged that she is good for tennis, feel that she should not be allowed to play at Roland Garros, which starts in May, but it is up to the organisers to decide her fate.
Sharapova has for many years, been the top earning female sportswoman and alongside Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, is one of the main draw cards at any tournament and a gold mine for the sponsors.