Give Sharapova the welcome she deserves - Becker

Boris Becker hopes Maria Sharapova is given a warm welcome when she returns to competitive action in April.

Maria Sharapova should be given "the welcome she deserves" upon he return from a 15-month doping ban.

Five-time grand slam winner Sharapova tested positive for the illegal substance meldonium after last year's Australian Open, but claimed to be unaware it had been outlawed by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Her ban was reduced from two years on appeal in October and she is set to make her competitive return in Stuttgart in April.

Becker has praised the 29-year-old's determination in pursuing a return to the sport and hopes to see her embraced by the tennis world.

"I am a believer in second chances," Becker is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. "She was punished, she did something she wasn't meant to do, she was out of the game for a while.

"Hopefully she will be received with the welcome she deserves. 

"It is not easy coming back, time has passed and the game hasn't stopped and it speaks for her determination that she wants to prove a point."