"It's now a very good feeling because the last three years I lost here in the first round", said Kerber. I've heard a lot of things. "If everything affects you on and off the court, I think that would be a really challenging position to be in", Sport24 quoted Sharapova as saying.
"It's not the way I think".
Hitting back at Bouchard, Sharapova claimed she has had enough experience of listening such kind of things since making her breakthrough by winning Wimbledon at the age of 17 years.
The second round match will take place on 8 May and a win for Sharapova would put her in the qualifying phase for Wimbledon. Sharapova's opener was against one of the form players of the season, the resurgent 35-year-old Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who was up to a career-high ranking inside the top 20 for the first time in nearly 20 years on the professional tour. "My tennis speaks for itself, and that's what I focus on", said Sharapova, 30, whose immediate return after her ban has gone down badly with some of her fellow players.
Despite the controversy surrounding the decision to hand her a wildcard, Sharapova was given a warm reception by the sparse crowd on the main Manolo Santana court in the Spanish capital.
"I think in terms of a game style, there's a little bit of similarities to who I played today: very aggressive, inside the court, takes the ball on the rise, doesn't give you much time, " Sharapova said.
"I feel like it's still a learning experience, and it's still just getting back in the groove and understanding what I need to work on and improve", she said.
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With Lucic-Baroni seemingly at a loss for answers, and her serve no longer having the same bite as it did earlier in the match, Sharapova broke twice more to complete the victory in two hours and 12 minutes.
Last year, though, she missed the entire clay swing as she sat out a 15-month suspension for doping, and depended on wild cards for her return last week in Stuttgart and this week in Madrid. She had a total of 19 break opportunities, converting seven of them.
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni hits a forehand during her first-round match against Maria Sharapova at the 2017 Mutua Madrid Open.
The second set was a different story as both players seemed to settle in despite the lack of rhythm, which came as a result of having countless rallies that lasted three shots or fewer. "I don't know how to explain it", said Sharapova.
There were no other major shocks on Sunday, with top seed Angelique Kerber and reigning champion Simona Halep, as well as Dominika Cibulkova, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Maria Sharapova, all progressing.
In the men's tournament, ninth-seeded David Goffin of Belgium defeated Karen Khachanov of Russian Federation 6-2, 7-6 (8), and Fabio Fognini of Italy beat Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-4, 6-4 to set up a second-round match against Rafael Nadal.