Neither man had played a competitive match for six months and both confirmed their participation only 48 hours before the tournament started, but Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka opened their Australian Open campaigns with encouraging victories here on Tuesday.
Her ranking slid into the 20s in 2017, but she's coming back into the kind of form which makes her a title contender.
'As I said before, I look forward to these matches.
"When you come back after a long time and you play the first match, you know, obviously all the things are a bit exaggerated, whatever is not working well. I did my job in two sets against someone that's been troubling in the past for me", she told reporters. "I love Australia. I love the summer-time".
Yet after a straight sets win against American Donald Young in the tournament's opening round - his first match since last year's Wimbledon - Djokovic dismissed claims that he had floated the idea of boycotting next year's Australian Open if the ATP did not adjust their revenue distribution model. But at the scene of her first major title she was a dominant 6-0 6-4 victor over compatriot Anna-Leda Friedsam.
Kerber - who won her first major title at the 2016 Open - proved too good for Croatia's Donna Vekic and won 6-4 6-1. Sharapova hasn't been bounced before the fourth round of a grand slam since the 2013 Wimbledon.
Djokovic lost in the second round here a year ago, but won five of the previous six Australian Open titles.
The ninth seed will now square off with Tennys Sandgren of America in the second round.
Despite his dominance over Monfils in the past, the French tennis veteran is a highly energetic and athletic player on the court.
Wawrinka argued neither his game nor his fitness were anywhere near where he would want them to be but he battled well to beat Ricardas Berankis 6-3 6-4 2-6 7-6 (7/2). "Well I did have various emotions, mostly good ones: excitement, joy, gratitude for being able to have an opportunity to compete", Djokovic said Tuesday.
No. 20 Barbora Strycova's 6-1, 7-5 win over wild-card entry Kristie Ahn and Aliaksandra Sasnovich beat Christina McHale 6-3, 6-2 to make it 2 for 13 for the US women so far. "So third round of the Australian Open, I don't know, I think I deserve to smile out there after that victory", Sharapova said after the match.
"I really enjoyed being back in Australia", said Kerber.