Cape Town - Maria Sharapova has given a candid interview in which she admitted her confidence has taken a bit of a battering as she struggles to regain her form and rhythm after injury.
The former world No 1 and five-time Grand Slam winner is in danger of dropping out of the Top 100 after her first round defeat to Anett Kontaveit at the Rogers Cup.
It was only her 12th match of the season due to a persistent shoulder injury, and Sharapova admits her confidence is struggling right now.
"I'm still building the confidence and my forms and that's something that’s just going to come with time and with match play," she said.
"Unfortunately, I just haven't had that yet, so will just hopefully try to build on it.
"There's never the perfect scenario. I'm going to be coming up
against tough players, long matches, and there are always going to be
tests. And I always have to play my best tennis no matter who I play," she said.
"So it will just take time to build that confidence again, because I have struggled with it for a long time."
Sharapova has sought some extra coaching help in an attempt to get herself out of her slump, forming an association with former Novak Djokovic and Milos Raonic coach Riccardo Piatti.
"I crashed his summer camp," she joked.
"I spent a few weeks in Europe working with Riccardo Piatti, which was really nice and just a different perspective from someone that didn't expect me.
"We all had a great time. I worked really hard, but I felt - really, I
felt like I had fun at the end of it, which was really important," said Sharapova.
"He'll be at the US Open, which will be nice. He looks after a few kids so, we'll be together there."