Tennis: Maria Sharapova returns with a win at Stuttgart
Russia's Maria Sharapova registered a win in her first match after returning to tennis following a 15-month doping suspension. She was given a wild card entry at the Stuttgart Open, where she defeated Roberta Vinci 7-5 6-3 in the first round, hitting 11 aces and 13 winners. The 30-year old will now face fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova in the second round of the tournament.
Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova will return to tennis after a gap of 15 months. She was handed a two year suspension last year when she tested positive for meldonium. However, the ban was later reduced to 15 months by the authorities. As her suspension was about to end, Sharapova was given wild card entries into various tournaments at Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome.
Giving wild card entries to Maria Sharapova has irked various tennis players. Angelique Kerber, Andy Murray, Caroline Wozniacki, Agnieszka Radwańska and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga were amongst the ones who hit back saying that the wild card entry to the Russian was questionable. Murray said that she should work her way up into the rankings rather than being handed these wild cards.
Venus Williams, Juan Martin del Potro and Maria's fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova supported her saying that she had no intention of doping and the world is waiting for her comeback.
After winning the match, Sharapova said, "It's the best feeling in the world, those first few seconds before you enter the arena. To know you were walking back out there was special."