Maria Sharapova looking forward to returning to the "day job"

The Russian is serving a 15-month drugs ban

BY Daniel Kelly 10:58 Wednesday 29 March 2017, 10:58 29 Mar 2017

Sharapova, competing in an exhibition event last October. Picture by: Isaac Brekken/AP/Press Association Images

Maria Sharapova is to return from her drugs ban next month at the Stuttgart Open.

The 29-year-old five-time Grand Slam champion was banned last year for taking Meldonium. A two-year ban was reduced to 15 months, after she appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Sharapova has yet to return to the court in a competitive capacity, but she has competed in exhibition events as she hopes to return to the top of the game. 

Speaking at an event in California on Tuesday night, the former World number one admitted it will be tough to get up to speed, when she returns to the court.

"In tennis you lose a lot of hand-to-eye coordination. Practising is never the same as matchplay, to face someone on the other side of the net."

The Russian star admitted she was relieved to get her "day job" back, following the fight for "the truth". Despite failing a drugs test for Meldonium at the Australian Open, CAS revealed that she was not an "intentional doper".

"It gave me time to live", Sharapova said of her break away from the game. "I went to Coachella last year, and I said, 'Wow, there are 120,000 people here doing drugs I haven't heard of.' This time away from the game made me realize I can live without the game."

With three wildcard entries before the French Open in June, Sharapova will be hoping to impress on the Parisian red clay, having already won twice at Roland Garros in 2012 and 2014.

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