Maria Sharapova suffered her 18th straight defeat to an "inspiring" Serena Williams on Tuesday, but the Russian has insisted that she tries to look at this as a source of inspiration rather than desperation.
The fifth seed went down 6-4, 6-1 to Williams in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Tuesday, handing Williams a 19-2 head-to-head advantage. Sharapova hasn't beaten Williams since 2004, and one – perhaps slightly disrespectful – journalist asked Williams last year if such a one-sided rivalry was really a rivalry at all.
Sharapova's disappointment on Tuesday was impossible to hide, especially after a strong first set, but the 28-year-old said that she's looking forward to the challenge of facing Williams again soon.
Asked how frustrating it was not to be able to break through against Williams, Shrapova responded: "It's obviously always frustrating. I mean, it's motivating.
"It's motivating because she's at a different level. She makes you go back to the drawing board, not just for me, but for many other players. She makes you work. That's inspiring."
For now Sharapova intends to take some time off and come back a stronger player for the remainder of the year.
"I'm going to go and take care of my forearm first," she said of her immediate plans. "I think that's really important. I'm going to go to Moscow, be part of the team. I don't think I'll be playing.
"But I think this will be a time to just get myself ready for a long year."