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Sharapova to make comeback after doping ban in Stuttgart

Tennis star Maria Sharapova looks on as Porsche introduces the new 2017 Porsche Panamera executive hybrid at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake/Files
Tennis star Maria Sharapova looks on as Porsche introduces the new 2017 Porsche Panamera executive hybrid at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake/Files

BERLIN (Reuters) - Five-times grand slam champion Maria Sharapova will return to competitive action following a 15-month doping ban at the Stuttgart Grand Prix in April.

The Florida-based Russian was originally banned for two years after testing positive for meldonium at last year's Australian Open.

The former world number one admitted she had used meldonium for years and was not aware it had been banned since the start of 2016. Her suspension was later cut to 15 months on appeal.

"I could not be happier to have my first match back on tour at one of my favourite tournaments," Sharapova, who won the indoor clay event three years running from 2012, said on the tournament website.

"I can't wait‎ to see all my great fans and to be back doing what I love."

She will return to action in time to contest the season's second grand slam at Roland Garros. The French Open begins on May 22.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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