Maria Sharapova fight back from the 15-month ban slapped on her has taken quite a literal form with the tennis star taking to boxing, among other things, to keep her occupied and motivated while she serves out the ban she received after failing a drug test during the 2016 Australian Open. The Russian said on Wednesday that she refused to feel sorry for herself, occupying her time by studying at Harvard, writing a book and even learning how to box. She also said that boxing was great as she could imagine some certain people she wanted to hit.
Boxing really seems to have perked her up, with the former world number one and five-time Grand Slam campion telling a Russian chat show that she enjoyed lacing up a pair of boxing gloves as part of her fitness regime.
"I tried boxing as I needed to keep myself in good form. It was great as I could imagine some particular people whom I wanted to hit," said the 29-year-old, without elaborating on the identity of her imagined targets.
Sharapova was banned from the sport after testing positive for Meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.
However, she will return to action at the Stuttgart clay court tournament on April 26 after her initial two-year ban was cut to 15 months.
Her reappearance in the sport will come seven days after her 30th birthday.
"I found out that I'm very good in resting," added Sharapova when she was asked what lessons she had learned during her enforced absence from the tour and which has left her without a world ranking.
"Formerly I couldn't imagine what to do during such a huge period of free time. I had almost 12 months to think, to read books etc."
She added: "I also had a vacation in Croatia, I celebrated the New Year in Hawaii. I've never been in London as a tourist before. I've seen almost nothing there while playing at Wimbledon."
Sharapova, who studied at Harvard Business School to help expand her candy business, added she had written a book about her life.
"I wrote a book which will be out in September. First it will be issued in English and then translated into Russian."
Participating in the in 2020 Tokyo Olympics is still too distant to contemplate.
"Now I'm focused on my comeback," the London Olympics silver medalist and 2008 Fed Cup winner told Russia's TASS news agency, saying it was "still unclear" if she would play in Tokyo.
"I would really love to play (in the Tokyo Games). It was hard to watch people competing at (Rio) Olympics, while I was unable to play there," she added.
(With inputs from AFP)