Twenty years after her famous victory at Wimbledon at age 17, Maria Sharapova was back at the All England Club in the first week of the Championships to reflect on that defining moment of her career, chat about the current state of the Hologic WTA Tour, and even dish on the current state of her relationship with one-time adversary Serena Williams.

Sharapova's visit to Wimbledon was a welcome one, as the former World No.1 herself admitted to Tennis Channel that she'd fallen away from attending tournaments as a spectator in the four-plus years since her retirement from the game. First came the pandemic, and then her first pregnancy and birth of her son, Theodore, who just celebrated his second birthday. He joined Sharapova and her fiancé, Alexander Gilkes, for her return trip to SW19.

"It's not often I come to the tennis events as a spectator," Sharapova said. "It's been nice to reconnect. ... I love watching the sport. I love supporting all the great names and the new generation that's coming up. It's a very different feeling being back.

"Although I have a healthy distance, I still feel like I'm a competitor at heart. You see those momentum swings in a match, and you know that's an important moment. I love being back. I love being at the US Open, now being a spectator here, it's a lot of fun."

But whether near or far, Sharapova has been keeping close tabs on the tour's current development. Already a noted admirer of Roland Garros semifinalist Mirra Andreeva's tennis, Sharapova also she also enjoys watching Coco Gauff play, particularly last summer at the US Open when the American won her first Grand Slam singles title.

"She has a voice and a platform that's going to transcend the sport," Sharapova said. "As we know now, sport is not just tennis. It's fashion, it's art, it's culture ... and I think she does brilliantly in merging them all together."

Sharapova was also flattered by landing on both Iga Swiatek and Naomi Osaka's shortlist of tennis players, past or present, that they'd most like to have dinner with -- and offered sound advice to any young player who's looking for guidance on how to balance their on- and off-court interests, something Sharapova particularly excelled at.

"There are so many distractions now, I feel like," she said. "We're faced with so much adversity, challenges, social media, and we want to be at 10 places at the same time. I think that the focus has to always remain on what's important to you. If it's being the best in the world at one thing, then you have to wake up and that is your goal and your vision.

"I always say, 'Don't believe the hype.' The hype is so instant, and comes in and out so quickly. Just having an even composure, when you win and when you lose. The victories are so special, but if you treat them too high, and you treat the tough moments as a really big low in your career, it's hard to find that happy medium. That sweet spot is really important, especially for a young player's career."