Fit-again Sharapova focusing on positives despite Australian Open exit

Maria Sharapova is relieved to have come through the Australian Open fit and healthy and now hopes to kick on following her disappointing fourth-round defeat to Angelique Kerber.

The 30-year-old, a champion in Melbourne in 2008, was beaten in straight sets by the impressive Kerber on Saturday.

But Sharapova was able to take positives from the year's first grand slam, having avoided a recurrence of the fitness concerns that dogged her return from suspension last year.

"I think there are a lot of things that I need to get better at and improve on," she said. "But looking at the overall picture, the overall beginning of this year, finishing the tournament, the first thing is that I'm healthy.

"That, to me, is a big thing because I'll be back on the practice court; I'm not starting from zero. There's a lot to build from. I know maybe that isn't what you want to hear, but personally that's important for me.

"There's a lot of things I need to improve on. As I said, this is a process. It's a lot of things that take time.

"To be able to get these matches, against players that are playing this well, I'm going to face a lot of them this year. I'll have to bring it."

And Sharapova insisted there would be no resting now as she looks to return to her best form.

"I usually look forward to resting in the first week of November, so I've got a long way to go until then," she added.

"If I'm looking for rest at this point in the season, there's something wrong."

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