Tennis star Maria Sharapova played her first professional match in 15 months on Wednesday and won it 7-5, 6-3.
The 30-year-old beat Italian Roberta Vinci at the Stuttgart Open in Germany. Sharapova was accused of taking a banned drug — meldonium — at the January 2016 Australian Open. She was originally banned until Jan. 25, 2018, but that was later reduced by nine months. During the 15 months she was out of professional tennis, Sharapova kept busy. She attended Harvard Business School and was an intern with Nike and the NBA, among other companies. She also added a chocolate line to her Sugarpova candy brand. Sharapova is one of the wealthiest athletes in the world. She has made over $300 million in endorsements and prize money, according to Forbes. After Sharapova initially announced that she had failed the drug test, some of her sponsors suspended or ended their relationships with her, including Tag Heuer. But after the initial suspension was announced, Nike said in a statement that it would continue to partner with her because she didn’t intentionally break the International Tennis Federation’s rules. Sharapova won Wimbledon at age 17 and became an instant star. She was born in Russia and moved to the U.S. when she was 7, but says she doesn’t plan to give up her Russian nationality. She has won five Grand Slam titles — Wimbledon in 2004, the U.S. Open in 2006, the Australian Open in 2008, and the French Open in 2012 and 2014. Having won each of the major tournaments at least once, she is one of only six women to win the “career Grand Slam” in the Open era, which began in 1968. Agencies