Beaten Sharapova has made 'a lot of progress'
Maria Sharapova believes she has made "a lot of progress" in the last 12 months despite crashing out of Wimbledon in the opening round for the first time.
The 2004 champion was beaten 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 by qualifier Vitalia Diatchenko on Tuesday in one of the shocks of the tournament so far.
Former world number one Sharapova was banned for the 2016 tournament and then missed the grass-court grand slam a year later, too, but had previously been a regular in the latter stages.
Despite this blow, the Russian - who reached the French Open quarter-finals but has not won a major since 2014 - believes she has come a long way in the space of a year.
"Tennis is a process. I've certainly made a lot of progress despite this result today," she told a news conference.
"I've made a lot of progress in the last few months. I find myself in a much better position than at this time last year."
Pressed on what positives she could take from her defeat, Sharapova continued: "I think the fight, the motivation, obviously the health. That's crucial, to be able to keep putting the work in.
"In a matter of a couple points, maybe the situation could have been different. I would have been here saying, 'I didn't play my best tennis, I'm giving myself another chance,' but I'm not.
"I have to take away the things that didn't work well for me and get back and work through those and look for my next opportunities."