Maria Sharapova is set to make a comeback at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix on April 26th, after a 15-month doping suspension. The five-time grand slam winner has won the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix five times, and had been sponsored by the Germany luxury car maker, until Porsche put their relationship on hold when she was first banned.
After Sharapova was tested positive for cardiac drug meldonium last January, she received a two-year ban. In September, the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) shortened her two-year ban to 15 months.
Before her ban, Sharapova had been the best-paid female athlete in the last 11 years, according to Forbes. Sharapova has said she had been using the drug, meldonium, since 2006 for other health issues, and wasn’t aware that it was prohibited by the World Anti- Doping Agency from 2016.
From the shadow of Chernobyl's nuclear wasteland to international super-stardom; from penniless arrival in the United States, without a word of English, to a fortune nudging the USD 200 million mark. It may sound like the stuff of Hollywood dreams, but the story of Maria Sharapova, the world's richest sportswoman, is a testament to the power of one individual to make it, whatever be the odds.
Sharapova first picked up a racquet at the age of four when she was living in Sochi, where her Belarus-born parents had settled after escaping the deadly clutches of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.