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Sharapova given Madrid wildcard

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 10-02-2017 skysports.com
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Maria Sharapova has been invited to play at the Madrid Open in May, two weeks after her 15-month doping ban expires. 

Sharapova will be back in action at the end of April and her spring calendar is starting to get busy.

The event is scheduled to be her second comeback after her suspension, with the Stuttgart Grand Prix in April being the Russian's first return to action.

The former world No 1 and five-time Grand Slam winner has been given a wildcard for the Spanish event, which begins on May 5.

Manolo Santana, event director, said: "Sharapova requested an invitation to play. She is one of the best players of the last 15 years and also a past winner of our tournament.

"In Madrid she always plays well and I'm sure she will come back to the courts highly motivated and hoping to do well."

Sharapova's positive test came at this year's Australian Open, less than four weeks after meldonium was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of prohibited substances.

The 29-year-old was suspended for two years by the International Tennis Federation (ITC), but the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) later cut the ban by nine months, allowing her to return from April 26.

The ITF rejected Sharapova's defence at a June tribunal and opposed her appeal to CAS, made on the plea she had no significant fault in the positive test.

The CAS ruling upheld her plea but found she "bore some degree of fault, for which a sanction of 15 months is appropriate".

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