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Azarenka: Sharapova return good for women's tennis

One year on from Maria Sharapova's revelation of a failed drug test, former number one Victoria Azarenka is looking forward to the Russian's return.
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Azarenka: Sharapova return good for women's tennis
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Maria Sharapova will make her return to the WTA Tour in Stuttgart next month after serving a 15-month suspension after she returned a positive test for meldonium at the 2015 Australian Open and another former world number one, Victoria Azarenka, is looking forward to seeing her back on court.

Tuesday marks a year to the day since Sharapova rocked the tennis world with her admission that she had failed a drugs test at the 2016 Australian Open.

Sharapova's failed test

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Sharapova revealed she had tested positive for meldonium during the grand slam in Melbourne, but claimed to be unaware the substance - which she said she had taken for health problems since 2006 - had been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's prohibited list.

The Russian was initially handed a two-year ban by the International Tennis Federation, but that was reduced to 15 months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in October.

The five-time grand slam winner will make her return at the Stuttgart Open - a tournament she has won three times - on April 24.

Sharapova has also been handed a wildcard for the Madrid Open in May, and Azarenka is looking forward to seeing her rival back in competitive action.

Azarenka: "It's good entertainment"

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"I think it's good for tennis," Azarenka told Omnisport. "She has such a huge fanbase and obviously that's going to bring more attraction to see how she will do, so I think it is good for tennis, good entertainment."

An April return gives Sharapova a month to prepare for the second grand slam of 2017 at Roland Garros, but Azarenka thinks the French Open may come too soon for the 29-year-old.

She added: "It's so hard to predict [if she can be competitive in Paris]. When you see players who are playing now it's hard to predict. When you haven't seen someone for a year and a half or so after a pretty big announcement it's hard to predict, but I think it's pretty exciting [to see how she fares]."


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