(K. Brent Tomer),
ON APRIL 26th Maria Sharapova will play her first match on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) tour in 15 months. In March 2016 the International Tennis Federation (ITF) suspended her for using meldonium, which had recently been added to its list of banned substances. She will make her return at the Premier-level clay-court event in Stuttgart—a tournament she won in 2014—in a draw that features seven members from the WTA’s top ten.
Ms Sharapova’s suspension has been controversial from the outset. The jury is still out as to whether meldonium actually enhances performance in tennis. Moreover, Ms Sharapova claims she did not realise the substance—which she had used since 2006—had been banned. The ITF reduced her initial penalty of two years to 15 months, and although some of her sponsors, such as Nike, suspended her contracts, others stood by her. Her comeback has raised questions as well. Tournament entries are granted based on a player’s WTA ranking, and after 15 months away, Ms Sharapova is no longer ranked. The WTA has <a…Continue reading