The world of tennis has not witnessed the brilliance of Maria Sharapova ever since doping charges resulted in a ban imposed on her earlier this year. The ban was reduced from 2 years to 15 months on Tuesday. Sharapova fans will now get to see the player on courts in an exhibition event on Monday.
The Russian player will participate in the World Team Tennis Smash Hits event at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, which will feature a number of mega stars, including John McEnroe, Andy Roddick and Martina Navratilova. Such exhibitions matches pull a large number of spectators, and with Sharapova making a comeback to the courts, one can expect an eager crowd to witness such quality players.
"I am really excited to get back on the court for a great cause. I have been wanting to play this event for Billie and Elton for a long time so I am looking forward to a great night of tennis," AFP quoted Sharapova as saying.
Though this is going to be an exhibition match, she will have her eyes set on a major comeback. Sharapova can resume playing in the WTA circuit from April 26 onwards. However, the former world number one in women's tennis will have to miss the Australian Open, which takes shape in January. She will be keen to strike big in the remaining three Grand Slams — the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open 2017.
Sharapova might have undergone a torrid time after being banned from the sport as she tested positive for meldonium, which was included in the list of banned drugs in 2016. The World Anti-Doping Agency had informed athletes about the inclusion via mails in 2015, but the Russian claims she did not read them, and faced huge consequences.
She appealed against the ban, stating that the decision was very harsh, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Tuesday decided to reduce it from 2 years to 15 months, which brought a huge smile to the athlete's face.
Are Sharapova fans ready to see the best of her in Las Vegas?