Sharapova prepares for ‘difficult’ comeback

Maria Sharapova is under no illusions as to the challenge facing her when she returns to professional tennis after serving her 15-month ban.

The Russian superstar is set to make her return on 26 April at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix Stuttgart, Germany, after being handed a wildcard from the tournament organisers.  

Related: Sharapova’s red carpet return to tennis

"Will it be difficult? Absolutely," the former world number one told the press at an ANA Inspiring women event.

"In tennis, you lose a lot of hand-eye coordination. Practice is never the same as match play, to face someone on the other side of the net."

Sharapova tested positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open and had her banned reduced after the Court of Arbitration for Sport found that it was unintentional.

The five-time grand slam winner is excited to get back on the court. 

"I've got my day job back…it's great," added the 29-year-old.

"I've been training quite hard for the past four months.

"When you love what you do, and you do it with passion and integrity and you work hard and have a team around you, and you're the driving force, you know what you stand for and who you are."