Tennis: Sharapova to get wildcard into Madrid Masters

Maria Sharapova celebrates against Simona Halep during the BNP Paribas WTA Finals. Photo / Getty Images
Maria Sharapova celebrates against Simona Halep during the BNP Paribas WTA Finals. Photo / Getty Images

Former champion Maria Sharapova will celebrate the end of a 15-month doping ban with a return to the Madrid Masters in the first week of May, officials confirmed on Thursday.

The Russian, who won the title in 2014 from a set down against Simona Halep after losing the final a year before to Serena Williams, last played the event in 2015, reaching the semis.

Sharapova served a ban for taking a suddenly declared illegal medication which she had been on for a decade under doctor's orders.

"Sharapova requested an invitation to play in the tournament and after considering it, we decide to give her a wildcard," tournament director Manolo Santana said.

"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."

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