Three-time champion Maria Sharapova will make her return to competitive tennis at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix on April 26.
WTA Staff

STUTTGART, Germany - Former World No.1 Maria Sharapova will make her return to competitive tennis at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix on April 26.

The tournament announced on Tuesday that Sharapova has accepted a wildcard and will play her opening match on Wednesday, April 26. It will be Sharapova's first WTA event since testing positive for a banned substance at the 2016 Australian Open.

"Maria is eligible to return to professional tennis beginning on April 26th. This will be the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart's 40th anniversary and I'm sure the fans there will be excited to see her play," WTA CEO Steve Simon said.

Sharapova has a fine record at the event, winning the title on three consecutive occasions between 2012 and 2014.

"I could not be happier to have my first match back on tour at one of my favorite tournaments," Sharapova said. "I can't wait? to see all my great fans and to be back doing what I love."

As outlined in the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) ruling issued on June 8, 2016, Sharapova is eligible to return to compete in Stuttgart. This is in compliance with the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme Rule 10.11.4, which states:

'Where an Event that will take place after the period of ineligibility has an entry deadline that falls during the period of Ineligibility, the Player may submit an application for entry in the Event in accordance with that deadline, notwithstanding that at the time of such application he/she is Ineligible.'

The schedule for all WTA events is a joint decision, made by both the WTA and tournament organizers, and it is not uncommon for first-round matches to be staggered over multiple days - at Stuttgart in 2016, five first-round matches were played on Wednesday.

Last March's CAS ruling also resulted in Sharapova forfeiting the ranking points she earned at that year's Australian Open. As she has not competed since, the Russian currently does not have an official ranking.

However, as a past Grand Slam singles champion and WTA Finals singles champion, Sharapova may receive an unlimited number of wildcard nominations.