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Sharapova says she cannot wait to return after ban reduced

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Maria Sharapova of Russia speaks during a news conference at the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane, Australia January 1, 2013. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz/Files
Maria Sharapova of Russia speaks during a news conference at the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane, Australia January 1, 2013. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz/Files

LONDON (Reuters) - Russia's former world number one Maria Sharapova said she could not wait to return to tennis in April after her drugs ban was reduced to 15 months on Tuesday.

"Tennis is my passion and I have missed it. I am counting the days until I can return to the court," The 29-year-old told her fans on Facebook.

Sharapova, a five-times grand slam champion, was originally handed a two-year ban - backdated to start on Jan. 26, 2016 - by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) in June following a positive test for the drug meldonium.

"I’m coming back soon and I can’t wait," said Sharapova who is now free to return to action on April 26 next year.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)


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