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I've got my day job back - Sharapova buoyed by imminent return

Former world number one Maria Sharapova says she has been training hard for four months as she closes in on a WTA Tour comeback in April.

Maria Sharapova - cropped
Former world number one Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova has expressed delight at having "my day job back" as she nears a return to competitive action on the WTA Tour.

The five-time grand slam champion was initially banned for two years after testing positive for meldonium at last year's Australian Open. Sharapova said she had been taking the drug for a decade due to health problems and had not realised it had been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's prohibited list at the start of 2016.

Following an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Sharapova - who insisted she had "not tried to use a performance-enhancing substance" saw her suspension reduced to 15 months.

As a result, she will be able to make a comeback at next month's Stuttgart Open.

Sharapova was quoted by the BBC as telling an ANA Inspiring Women in Sports Conference: "I fought so hard for the truth. You don't realise how much you love something until you lose it for some time.

"I've got my day job back. It's great. I've been training quite hard for the past four months.

"Although I'm at a stage or age in my career where you're closer to the end than your beginning, you always want to end a chapter in your life on your own terms, in your own voice."

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