London [U.K.]: Maria Sharapova, who is set to make a comeback in next month in the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart after serving a 15-month doping ban, is aware that her return to the tennis arena is not going to be a very welcome one.
According to the Guardian, the five-time grand slam winner has accepted that she will have a cloud of suspicion hanging over her when she returns to the game next month.
Sharapova confessed to being tested positive for the cardiac drug meldonium at the Australian Open in 2016, following which she was banned.
Her suspension runs out on 26 April and she will play her first match the same day, having been given a wild card into the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart.owever, the reaction from her fellow players remains unpleasant as the awarding of a wild card for a tournament that begins while she is still banned is considered particularly controversial.
Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki branding it as “disrespectful”, adding that the rules were being twisted and turned in favour of who wants to do what.
“I think everyone deserves a second chance and I think she’s going to come back and fight her way back. I’m sure she’s going to play well. But at the same time, I feel when a player is banned for drugs, I think someone should start from the bottom and fight their way back. I think once a tournament is started and a player is banned, I don’t think a player should be allowed to play that week,” Wozniacki said at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
Sharapova admitted taking meldonium, insisting her only mistake was not realising the drug had been added to the banned list at the start of 2016.
Her initial two-year ban was reduced to 15 months following an appeal to the court of arbitration for sport, which concluded she had not intended to cheat. (ANI)