There has been no love lost between the pair since and Monday’s French Open meeting – their first since the 2016 Australian Open – has all the makings of a classic grudge match.
Since then Sharapova has served a doping ban while Williams has just returned to action after having a daughter.
Maternity leave means Williams, the 23-time grand slam winner, is now ranked 451 in the world, and the American said with a grin: “She’s probably a favourite in this match.
In the past 14 years, Sharapova has not survived Serena’s firepower with 18 straight wins against the Russian, and in all 21 games, Serena had taken the better of Maria 19 times.
“She’s been playing for over a year now. I just started. So I’m just really trying to get my bearings and trying to feel out where I am and see where I can go.
“But I think this will be another test. I think this is just one of her best surfaces, and she always does really, really well here.
“So this would be a good opportunity for me kind of to see where I am and just hopefully continue to go forward.”
In the men’s draw Rafael Nadal, still on course for an 11th Roland Garros title, faces Germany’s world number 70 Max Marterer.
“He’s a player that has a good potential, said Nadal, who turned 32 on Sunday. “He’s a player that has a good serve, good forehand. He hits the ball with big top spin. He has power, so he’s a dangerous opponent.”
From Yahoo News