Tennis: Maria Sharapova receives invite to WTA Stanford event

Maria Sharapova has received an invitation to play at the WTA Stanford tournament at the end of next month.
Maria Sharapova has received an invitation to play at the WTA Stanford tournament at the end of next month.PHOTO: REUTERS

Los Angeles (AFP) - Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova has received an invitation to play at the WTA Stanford tournament at the end of next month as the Russian star continues her return from a doping suspension.

Her comeback from a 15-month doping ban will include a stop at Stanford University for the July 31-August 6 event, organisers announced on Wednesday.

Officials gave the 30-year-old a wildcard entry as she gets set to compete in the tournament for the first time six years.

"I am excited to return to the Bank of the West Classic and would like to thank the tournament for giving me the opportunity to play," Sharapova said.

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Former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka is also in the 28-player singles draw.

Sharapova, ranked 173rd in the world, made her Tour return in April at Stuttgart, reaching the semi-finals.

She had been due to try to qualify for Wimbledon but she pulled out earlier this week, citing a muscle injury.

She was denied a invite to the French Open, which wrapped up on Sunday.