Maria Sharapova: Russian tennis star posts practice pics ahead of Stuttgart Open 2017

Sayantan Maitra
maria sharapova

Maria Sharapova / Instagram

Ace Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova is returning to action on Wednesday, April 26, in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix tournament at Stuttgart, Germany. The 30-year-old will take on Italy's Roberta Vinci in the tournament's round-of-32.

Sharapova is returning to on-court tennis action after more than a year; she last played a major tournament when she had reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open 2016.

It was around that time that the two-time French Open champion came out in the open and revealed taking of meldonium — a banned substance. Sharapova had mentioned that she was unaware of the mildronate drug being a part of the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA's) list of banned substances.

The ban on meldonium came into effect only on January 1, 2016.

Nevertheless, after an initial two-year suspension of Sharapova by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for doping, the ban was reduced to 15 months. Now, with the ban nearing an end, the tennis star can return to the sport!

Sharapova has won the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix on three consecutive occasions — in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

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