Her ranking was languishing in the 200s when she chose to take an indefinite break from tennis in late 2014 and she used some of the time away from the game to follow another sporting interest, playing cricket for Brisbane Heat in the Women's Big Bash League.
Meldonium was outlawed in 2016 and since her return, her performance in the deciding sets has taken a significant fall.
Then, in something of a throwback twist, fans also took issue with the sheer volume of Sharapova's screams - the 31-year-old's characteristic to grunt loudly while playing a shot has been much parodied in the media - and the long time taken between serves. "It's been an incredible experience", she told reporters.
"It was a little close wasn't it!" I've enjoyed watching her play. At age 18, Barty stepped away from tennis for 18 months and had a short and successful stint in cricket, playing for Brisbane heat in the women's Big Bash League.
A break of such length in tennis would normally sound the death knell on a professional career, given each year players seem to become more physically powerful, fitter and technically sound.
Sharapova drew the ire of the Australian public on Sunday when she took a seven-minute break in between the second and third sets of her 4-6 6-1 6-4 loss to the Aussie. Finally securing the victory with another ace on her fourth match point was simply inspiring. So I just had to keep chipping away and trust the work we've done.
Un cazador dibuja el logo de Vox con 58 conejos muertos
La imagen, que cuenta con miles de retuits, ha generado multitud de comentarios contra el partido de Santiago Abascal . La acción ha despertado una oleada de críticas en las redes sociales en las que se destacaba la "crueldad" del acto .
Sharapova is Russia's most decorated tennis player having won a total of five Grand Slam tournaments, namely the Australian Open in 2008, the French Open in 2012 and 2014, Wimbledon in 2004 and the US Open in 2006.
She, her coach Craig Tyzzer and others in her camp had plotted an assault on the majors in 2019, wanting her to get her "teeth sunk into slams" in her quest to climb inside the world top 10.
She said: "I'm kind of a different person". "It's wonderful that it's happening in Australia. There's absolutely nothing better".
Australia's first women's quarter-finalist at Melbourne Park since Jelena Dokic a decade ago, Barty will now play Czech world No.6 Petra Kvitova on Tuesday for a spot in the semi-finals. Kvitova is on a nine-match roll, including a win over Barty last week in the Sydney International final.
Kvitova is no stranger to the latter stages of slams, of course, but this is the furthest she has been in Melbourne since 2012.
"So excited that we have been able to give myself a chance here to go deep, which is one of the ultimate goals for '19 was to try and really get my teeth sunk into slams and get deep into the second week", she said. "I was doing all the right things but very happy to come through in the end".