Maria Sharapova reveals 'goosebumps' after comeback victory

Story highlights

  • World No. 4 Maria Sharapova wins her first WTA Tour match in almost five months
  • Russian returns to action in Brisbane Monday following absence due to injury
  • The four-time grand slam winner wins first-round match in just over an hour
  • Grigor Dimitrov, last year's Brisbane men's runner-up, wins his opening match

Maria Sharapova made a successful return to the WTA Tour on Monday -- and her boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov also won his opening match of the new season at the same Brisbane International tournament.

Sharapova, on her first appearance at the Australian Open warmup event, brushed aside France's Caroline Garcia 6-3 6-0 in 63 minutes as she showed no signs of her recent shoulder problems.

It was the Russian's first WTA outing since losing in the first round in Cincinnati in August -- after which she parted with coach Jimmy Connors after just one match together.

The world No. 4 is now working with Sven Groeneveld, former mentor of Monica Seles and Mary Pierce, as she seeks to add to her 2008 Australian Open success this month.

"I think I was just really determined to get back on the court," Sharapova told reporters. "It's been a while. I think the whole team was really ready to go out.

Maria Sharapova's taste for business
Maria Sharapova's taste for business


    Maria Sharapova's taste for business


Maria Sharapova's taste for business 03:26
The story behind Sharapova's success
The story behind Sharapova's success


    The story behind Sharapova's success


The story behind Sharapova's success 06:26
On the court with 'Baby Federer'
On the court with 'Baby Federer'


    On the court with 'Baby Federer'


On the court with 'Baby Federer' 01:12

"I knew I was going to play Monday night a little bit ago already. I got goosebumps when I heard because I was looking forward to today even a week ago.

"It's those days you work for. It was a big step to come and a big step to play out there tonight."

The 26-year-old, who pulled out of last year's Brisbane event with shoulder problems, will next face Australian teenager Ashleigh Barty.

"She is another future star and someone that I've seen grow up from the juniors and now onto the tour," Sharapova said of the 190th-ranked 17-year-old, who beat veteran Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova.

Read: Serena reveals ankle fears

Barty's compatriot Casey Dellacqua will also be up against a big name in round two, having set up a clash with world No. 2 Victoria Azarenka by beating 67th-ranked Russian Galina Voskoboeva in three sets.

Fourth seed Jelena Jankovic battled past former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone 6-2 7-6 (8-6), while German No. 5 Angelique Kerber, Spanish No. 8 Carla Suarez Navarro and Slovakian No. 9 Dominika Cibulkova also progressed.

Dimitrov also changed coach late last season to Roger Rasheed, who has worked with Lleyton Hewitt and Gael Monfils, and they continued their strong start together as the 22-year-old beat Dutchman Robin Haase 6-2 6-3.

The Bulgarian, runner-up in Brisbane last season and who won his first ATP Tour title in Stockholm in October, will next play former world No. 9 Marin Cilic.

Top seed Roger Federer's first opponent in Brisbane will be Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen, who beat 21-year-old Australian wildcard James Duckworth.

Meanwhile, Tomas Berdych's Australian Open preparations were hit Monday when the world No. 7 lost to big-serving Croation Ivo Karlovic in the opening round of the Qatar Open.

Karlovic fired 24 aces against the Czech in a 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-4) victory in Doha, while two-time runner-up Monfils of France and Poland's Lukasz Kubot also progressed.

Read: New man in Sharapova's life


    • Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.

      What does 2015 hold for Rafa?

      Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
    • LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and his long time girlfriend Kim Sears arrive at Buckingham Palace on October 17, in London, England. Murray will become an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and receive his medal from the Duke of Cambridge. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

      Love game: Andy Murray to tie knot

      The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
    • Despite being forced to retire at the age of 24 due to health problems, Lacoste remained in the game and went on start the "Lacoste" brand in 1933, which specialised in tennis products. The inspiration for the company's logo came from his nickname as a player, "le crocodile."

      'Crocodile' who broke all the rules

      His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
    • Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

      Serena savors U.S. Open win

      Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
    • American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.

      The amazing life of Althea Gibson

      Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
    • Courting couple at match point

      "I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
    • LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 03: Tennis / Frauen: Wimbledon 2004, London; Finale; Siegerin Maria SHARAPOVA / RUS 03.07.04. (Photo by Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images)

      'Baby' Sharapova's big moment

      It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
    • 'Swiss Miss' follows mom's lead

      Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.