Maria Sharapova returns to the court for the first time since testing positive for meldonium

The Russian featured in a World Team Tennis charity event in Las Vegas last night

Maria Sharapova

Image: Isaac Brekken AP/Press Association Images

Maria Sharapova returned to the court last night for the first time since testing positive for meldonium.

The Russian was taking part in an exhibition match at the World Team Tennis charity event in Las Vegas.

The former world number one played alongside 16-year-old American Taylor Johnson, marking her return to the sport for the first time since testing positive for the banned substance at the Australian Open in January.

The 29-year-old had her ban reduced from two years to 15 months by the court of arbitration for sport and will be free to return to the sport next April in time for the French Open.

"It was a big occasion for her [Johnson] and also for me," she told ESPN. "I haven't been on a court for a while, for both of us, it was to have some fun and a bit of laughs."

The one-day event, in support of the Elton John Aids Foundation, saw her lose her first match to Martina Navratilova and Liezel Huber. She later paired with former US player John McEnroe for a match against  Navratilova and Andy Roddick.

Maria Sharapova acknowledges the crowd as she returned to the court last night

She was partnered by American John McEnroe during the event in Las Vegas

 

Images courtesy of Isaac Brekken AP/Press Association Images