SHE'S BACK! Maria Sharapova, who has been heating up Instagram with her bikini pics recently and also making sure to get the much-needed brush up in academics by enrolling in a two-week program at the Harvard Business School last year, is finally back to doing what she does the best.
Soar the temperatures at the tennis court and play her brand of the game.
The 29-year-old Russian glam girl is returning for the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix at Stuttgart, Germany, scheduled for an April 22 start this year. Sharapova will be taking to the court on April 26, bringing an end to her 15-month long doping suspension handed by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
"I could not be happier to have my first match back on tour at one of my favourite tournaments. I can't wait to see all my great fans and to be back doing what I love," Sharapova spoke to the Porsche website.
She has won the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix on three consecutive occasions -- in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Sharapova was banned initially for two years by the ITF following revelations of her meldonium intake during the Australian Open 2016. The five-time Grand Slam winner admitted to using the drug under the name of mildronate and was completely unaware that it was a part of the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA's) list of banned substances.
The drug was added to the banned list by WADA on September 16, 2015, but the ban came into effect only on January 1, 2016.
She appealed the ITF verdict at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS); the autonomous sports organisation then decided to reduce the tennis star's suspension to 15 months. "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," said Tournament Director Markus Günthardt.
"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," he added.
Maria Sharapova comeback match
Tournament: Porsche Tennis Grand Prix tournament 2017
Date: April 26.
Time: 10 pm IST approx.
Opponent: Roberta Vinci.
Venue: Stuttgart, Germany.