Maria Sharapova shows warrior spirit by posing in Rome’s Colosseum ahead of Italian Open

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Glad(iator) all Ova

Russian banned for using illegal substance has been given a wildcard entry into the event

MARIA SHARAPOVA shows off her warrior spirit by posing in Rome’s Colosseum ahead of the Italian Open.

The Russian star has been given a wildcard entry into the event following her ban for taking an outlawed substance.

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Maria Sharapova strikes a pose in the Colosseum in Rome

Sharapova, who was joined by Tomas Berdych in the famous structure built almost 2,000 years ago, kicks off her campaign against American Christina McHale today.

The 30-year-old will have all eyes on her in centre court at the red clay tournament, where she starts in the round of 64.

Sharapova leapt for joy as she smiled and posed for photos.

The Russian star gets her Italian Open campaign underway today

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The Russian star gets her Italian Open campaign underway today

Maria Sharapova leaps for joy inside the Colosseum

Getty Images

Maria Sharapova leaps for joy inside the Colosseum

Maria Sharapova serves up a treat in Rome

AP:Associated Press

Maria Sharapova serves up a treat in Rome

The five-time Grand Slam champion is continuing her comeback from a 15-month ban

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The five-time Grand Slam champion is continuing her comeback from a 15-month ban
Maria Sharapova reacts to SunSport asking her a question after tennis comeback


But her return to tennis after a 15-month ban has not always been so cheery.

Rival Eugenie Bouchard branded Sharapova a “cheater” ahead of their grudge match in the Madrid Open.

Canadian Bouchard went on to win that showdown, claiming a 7-4 2-6 6-4 victory, and said it was “one of my more prouder matches”.

But things could be picking up for Sharapova off the court.

She has been seen cosying up to fellow tennis star Grigor Dimitrov, who is said to be on a break from pop star girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger.

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