LAS VEGAS -- It was Day 6 of the Maria Sharapova Redemption Tour when the suspended Russian tennis star pulled into Las Vegas on Monday night. A star-studded charity event played out on a spectacular setting: a temporary court constructed in front of Caesars Palace against the backdrop of the brilliant neon signs of The Las Vegas Strip.In contrast to her carefully orchestrated media blitz and sharp back-and-forth with the International Tennis Federation last week after learning her suspension had been reduced from 24 to 15 months, the edge in Sharapovas voice was gone here.The World TeamTennis Smash Hits charity event, hosted annually by Billie Jean King and Sir Elton John to benefit Johns AIDS Foundation was the perfect landing spot for Sharapova. It allowed her to make her first return to a public event after seven months in exile. And it also felt like a turning point. During the nine-minute news conference, she had no more angry talk of being aggrieved or feeling unfairly targeted by the ITF. She can finally get on with her comeback now. She knows it. And the shift in her mood showed.The retired past Slam winners who joined her for this event -- Andy Roddick, Martina Navratilova, John McEnroe and King herself -- all treated her warmly. The sellout crowd of 2,500 did, too. Sharapova took her return seriously enough to have a workout earlier in the day on the court. Unwittingly or not, she even cribbed a line thats usually attributed to baseball great Joe DiMaggio when she said she was determined to put on a representative show for the fans.Its very special to be here, she said. Its been seven months since I played in front of spectators in a stadium environment. ... No matter what the match is like, whether youre playing an exhibition match, whether youre playing a finals of a Grand Slam, you have to be ready for every single match. Every night. Because those fans could be there in the stands for the first time. They want to see you play competitive tennis. That will be our job today. And also, to have a lot of fun.Sharapova seemed like she did have fun. She clapped her hands and stomped her feet when she outbid Roddick and John at the prematch charity auction for tickets to the hit Broadway play Hamilton (She has more money than me, Roddick said after falling out at $18,000, and Elton has more money than her.)Sharapovas upbeat mood continued onto the court.She nearly fell out laughing after she huddled during a doubles match with McEnroe for help (I never play doubles, she plaintively explained to the crowd) and someone in the stands yelled at her, He doesnt understand Russian. She and Roddick had a needling, running competition going all night on court, often smacking take-no-prisoner volleys back and forth at each other -- and she rubbed it in just a little when she showed she still had enough game left despite her long layoff and slammed one of Roddicks hard serves cross-court for a clean winner. McEnroe arched an eyebrow and nodded his approval. Navratilova gave her a high-five. Roddick hung his head.Sharapova was happy to be back, happy to get the warm reception she received. Sharapova thanked King for the invite to the event and asked to pose with her for a photo afterward by the net. When Sharapova left the court after playing womens doubles and that mixed doubles match, John tenderly cupped a hand on each side of her face and thanked her for coming. With two limos waiting just beyond the grandstands to whisk everyone who had played off into the Vegas night, Sharapova was the last player to leave the court.She posed for numerous selfies with fans who crowded up to the railing after the match and signed autographs. She gasped for joy and hugged a few folks she seemed to know who had pushed their way up to the railing. She seemed genuinely gratified when one fan surprised her by handing her a half-dozen red roses to welcome her back, with Sharapova holding them tight to her chest.Sharapova wouldnt have been here at all if not for the appeal decision she finally received last Tuesday from the Court of Arbitration for Sport that exonerated her from being an intentional doper. Her organized campaign to immediately tell her side of the story the same day the decision came down included a one-day rush of sit-down interviews with The Charlie Rose Show on PBS, then CNN, The New York Times, ESPN and the Today show. She took the opportunity to vent about how, I let everyone speak for a long time. I let everyone make assumptions and judge and say anything that they wanted to. ... But at the end of the day, when this is all over, I knew that I would have the final say.It was also her first insights into what she was thinking and doing all those months. She said that no matter how long her suspension had run, I never doubted Id be back. ... I knew this was never how Id finish my career. By personally making the rounds, Sharapova also had a chance to pounce on how the CAS panels decision contradicted some of the ITFs initial findings.CAS did find her guilty of some negligence for not knowing that meldonium, an over-the-counter drug shed been taking for the past 10 years for various health reasons, had moved onto the World Anti-Doping Agencys banned list on Jan. 1 -- just more than two weeks before she tested positive for it at the Australian Open. But CAS disagreed Sharapova was actively seeking performance enhancement and also agreed with the contention by Sharapovas lawyer that the ITF could have done better job informing its athletes of the new banned list.There was no system in place with the WTA tour, Sharapova said.Sharapova can now return to the regular tour in late April, about a week after her 30th birthday. She is determined to show her days contending for her sixth Grand Slam title arent done.King said Monday that when she asked Sharapova how she had been spending her long layoff, Sharapova told her about new workouts -- boxing, spin classes, beach training -- she had been doing these past few months. She hasnt just been laying around, King said. Sharapova also took a two-week class at Harvard Business School and shadowed NBA commissioner Adam Silver for a day to see how his world works.Sharapova says shes still firming up her exact plans to prepare for a comeback, but she knows she would love to play maybe a couple of exhibition events leading up to my first tournament. ... I dont know what those will be. But I definitely think thats one of the things that will be most important because match play cant really be replicated in practice. Theres nothing really like it. I dont think Ill be playing too many [exhibitions], but I do think a few next year would really help me.It seems her official WTA comeback could be a clay-court tournament in Prague that begins May 1. That would be the natural starting place for Sharapova given the French Open, which she has won two times, starts just a couple weeks later.Sharapova insists she hasnt been focused on how other players will receive her once she returns or whether her opponents will perceive CASs decision as the exoneration she and her attorney, John Haggerty, portray it as. Just the other day, WTA rival Sam Stosur told reporters in Hong Kong she couldnt believe Sharapovas suspension was trimmed back and that other players she had spoken with felt the same.Kristina Mladenovic already called Sharapova a cheater months ago and has said nothing to take it back. Even Sharapovas former boyfriend, Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, whom she dated for two years through July 2015, said of her, Whoever does something deserves what he gets, for sure. But then Dimitrov added, I think tennis misses her. As a competitor, shes just going to come back and shes going to be so hungry to play and excited and motivated.And while Sharapovas 11-year streak as the top-earning female athlete in the world was broken during her hiatus, all of the what-ifs and whatevers to come felt far away -- on Monday night, anyway.An old entertainment world anecdote that John told about who decides to play Vegas seemed to apply perfectly. The singer said: People always said when youre dead, you go play Vegas.I always thought that was nonsense. Wholesale Jerseys For Sale . Westbrook has missed 27 games since having a procedure on Dec. 27 to deal with swelling in his injured right knee — the third operation on the knee in nine months. NFL Store Online . Mickelson barely made the cut but had the best round of the day with nine birdies and an eagle coupled with two bogeys to sit two shots behind leader Craig Lee of Scotland. Lee shot a 69 for a 12-under 204 total. "I just love the fact I am in contention and have an opportunity in my first tournament of the year here in Abu Dhabi," Mickelson said. http://www.cheapnfljerseyswholesale.com/ . The native of Mont-Tremblant, Que., captured a World Cup downhill event Saturday, his second this year and fifth career victory on the circuit. Football Jerseys Outlet . Pettersen, winner of last years Evian Championships, had nine birdies and three bogeys, holding off a series of challengers led by Marion Ricordeau of France. The second-ranked Norwegian made her season debut after missing the LPGA Tours opening event last month in the Bahamas because of a shoulder injury. Jerseys China . After taking two big hits this week -- losing at home and dropping back-to-back games for the first time all season -- Indiana struck back by playing its most complete game of the year. TERRYTOWN, La. -- Former NFL player Joe McKnight has been shot to death following an argument at an intersection with another motorist.Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand says it happened about 2:43 p.m. Thursday in Terrytown, a suburb of New Orleans.Normand says 28-year-old McKnight was standing outside his car when he was shot by 54-year-old Ronald Gasser.Normand says Gasser stayed at the scene and relinquished his weapon to responding officers. He says Gasser is in custody and being questioned.ddddddddddddSheriffs spokesman Col. John Fortunato says theyre anticipating charging Gasser but its unclear with what.McKnight, who played for the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs, is the second NFL player this year to die as a result of a possible road-rage incident. Saints player Will Smith was killed in April. 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