Cape Town - Maria Sharapova insists she has many years ahead of her on court and is looking forward to facing old foe Serena Williams.
The Russian superstar has endured an up and down season since making
her return to tennis in April following a 15-month doping ban.
of early exits were finally eclipsed by a great win over then world No 1 Simona Halep and finally a title in Tianjin.
The victory boosted Sharapova's world ranking to 57 and she still has
every chance at qualifying for the Australian Open in January - where
Williams also plans on making her return after she gave birth last
At 30-years-old, Sharapova is in the twilight of her career but she
is hoping to remain on the WTA Tour for the foreseeable future.
"If strength and health are there, I will still be on the tour for a
long time," the five-time grand slam winner said on court after her
first round exit at WTA Moscow this week.
"You can see my love for the sport. I am trying to improve and win. Me and Serena have many years ahead of us."
Sharapova added that she struggled to get to full match fitness after 15 months on the sidelines.
"I had a difficult period due to the ban," she continued.
"And then physically, it's always difficult to get used to the
routine of matches and practice sessions again if you didn't do it for a
Williams leads their head-to-head 19-2, with Sharapova's last win over the American coming in 2004.