Long before Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova became global sporting icons, they had a fateful first meeting in the California desert.

And in an expansive Instagram Live chat on Tuesday afternoon that dove deep into their lives on and off the court, the two all-time greats revealed the story of how they first met. 

"I was young and you were young, way before you had any Grand Slam titles... and we played this little exhibition in Indian Wells," Sharapova recalled.

"I think we were playing mixed doubles against each other, and you said that if you won, I would have to pay for dinner - and I said, 'Okay, who is this kid?'

"And you won and were like, 'We have dinner. Tonight. We're going to the Japanese place,' and I was like, 'Are you serious? You and me? Going to dinner? Tonight?'

"So we did! You pulled out this old Kodak camera and you asked the waiter to take a photo of us, and I was like, 'This feels like I auctioned myself off for this dinner,' and here we are! I don't remember anything about who we played with, but I remember this dinner and this old-school camera."

Although Djokovic confirmed that Sharapova's recollection was true, that famous photo will remain urban legend: later, he revealed that he lost the camera.

Upon the announcement of Sharapova's retirement in February, Djokovic lauded praise on the five-time major champion on Twitter, calling her an "amazing player" and "amazing human."

Taking questions from him in mock interview style, the Russian opened up on what she hopes to do in her life after tennis, highlighting her interests in architecture, health and wellness, developing sporting facilities and art.

Read more: Online in March: Sharapova zooms, Halep sizzles, Ahn reigns supreme

"Part of this whole new 'retirement thing,' whatever that really is, is exploring, having the time, and dedicating the time and working on the future," she said.

"I think one of the things I've learned and taken away from chapter 1.0, is that it took so many years to build the foundation, the ground and the fundamentals, and that took years from when we were both very young. 

"Day in and day out, it's done without anyone, without crowds, without people, without recognition. Although a large part of me is ready to go and is ready to work and is ready to achieve new things, I also know that I'm kind of new and whatever I set up so far while I was playing, a lot of that will take time to develop."

Currently quarantining with her parents at home, Sharapova reflected on how she came to the decision to retire, and how the early months of her life after tennis tennis have been modified due to the current state of world affairs. 

"To be honest, I was very stubborn in the past couple of years with my body... I struggled a lot with it because I kept thinking that it would a hurdle I could pass, and I could get better," she said.

"It's been somewhat of a transitional relief that I'm not putting my body through that anymore... There are some things that are still a part of me that I carry through in this transition, and some of it I'm ready to let go.

"My dad said to me, ‘Do you not want to go out on the private court and hit some balls?’ and I’m like, ‘No… No. No!’ Last night, I went in the basement and I went on the indoor stationary bike at 172 heart rate, and I’m like, ‘Why? Why am I doing this?’

"I was ready for the transition and I think I set up a really good base for myself... I'd say the transition is different than I thought it would be because of what we're all facing in today's environment."

Fan-submitted questions for the two champions included a serious analysis of what superpower they'd want - for Sharapova, it's invisibility - and why, with the Russian ultimately saying that the comprehensive catch-up session was just like being back on tour. 

“It felt like I came out of retirement for an hour.”

Tennis United Episode 4