Maria Sharapova, who will compete at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, Calif., this week, says that her suspension was difficult, but it increased her desire to play.
Sharapova failed a drug test in January 2016 and was suspended for a year-and-a-half. The five-time Grand Slam champion returned to the tour in Stuttgart in April.
“These last two years have been tougher—so much tougher—than I ever could have anticipated ... My passion for the game has never wavered. If anything, it's only grown stronger,” Sharapova told The Players' Tribune.
The 30-year-old reached the semis of Stuttgart before losing against Kristina Mladenovic in three close sets. In Madrid, she lost to Eugenie Bouchard, 6-4 in the third, in the second round. In Rome, she retired in the second round due to a hamstring injury and did not play the grass-court season.