Sharapova handed Madrid Open wildcard

Maria Sharapova’s schedule for her WTA return continues to take shape after she was handed a wildcard for the Madrid Open in May.

The former world number one is still serving a ban for testing positive for the banned substance meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.

Sharpova’s initial suspension was due to run until January 2018, but, after appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, had that reduced to April 2017.

The Russian will make her competitive return at the Stuttgart Open in late April and will continue preparations for the French Open by playing in the Spanish capital, with the tournament starting on May 5.

Tournament director Manolo Santana said via a news release: “Sharapova requested an invitation to play in the tournament and after considering it, we decided to give her a wildcard.

“Maria 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 in her first tournaments.”

Sharapova was a victor at the clay-court tournament in 2014, while she was runner-up to Serena Williams 12 months prior to that success.

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