Maria Sharapova v Roberta Vinci Preview – Sharapova arrives in Stuttgart as she returns from drug ban!

Every year some of the top players on the WTA tour arrive in Stuttgart to kick off their clay court season. Previous winners include Kerber, Davenport, Clijsters, Hingis and a returning champion in Maria Sharapova who returns from suspension.

Just over a year ago Maria Sharapova announced she had been banned for testing positive for a prohibited substance but after plenty of debates and appeals she will return to the tour.

Due to Sharapova’s ban she doesn’t have a ranking meaning she relies on wildcards to play in tournaments but should she receive wildcards for testing positive on a banned substance? No, not for me!

Now let’s focus on the tennis. Maria has been training and first of all will be up against a tricky player in Roberta Vinci.

Roberta is never going to be a player who powers you off a court her game relies on being a little patient on the court and introducing that slice to keep the ball low and flat will stop Sharapova from generating too much pace and power.

If anything I wouldn’t say there is much expectations on Maria to go far in the tournament and it’s about match fitness for her.

With respect you have to your opponent’s weakness at times and Maria’s weakness will be lack of competitive tennis over the last 14/15 months so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Roberta switching it up and throwing drops shots and variety.

I’m not expecting the tennis to be the talking point whatever happens in Stuttgart but the reception Sharapova will get will be interesting to say the least…

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