Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, the 14th seed, awaits for Sharapova in round two after she beat Uzebkistan-born American Varvara Lepchenko 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
She opened the year by winning four singles matches at the Hopman Cup, where Germany lost the final to Switzerland, and won the Sydney International last week for her first title since the 2016 U.S. Open. "Was a tough one in all aspect of the game, of the energy", Wawrinka said.
The player also had the easiest of rides in her on-stage interview.
"I get shivers", said Sharapova.
Any player hoping to stop him retaining his title and claiming a 20th grand slam will have to be pretty special on this evidence.
On Thursday, it was a different story as Sharapova sped through a sizzling first set in just 23 minutes for the loss of only nine points.
"Yeah, getting older. I was waking up this morning, I say, "OK, the '2" is gone right no, '" she said with a smile.
'It's been a long period without any matches for me. And then got a little bit sloppy, but I think that's normal.
Sharapova was in no mood to take her time as temperatures soared to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. "I managed to get that set".
"A month ago I didn't know if I was going to come to Australia or not because the elbow was still not prepared for this level of competition", Djokovic, playing his first match since Wimbledon previous year, said in an on-court interview.
"I don't think she's ever cared about what people think, which is what has made her a great champion".
She took just over half an hour to win the first set against the German and, despite facing more resistence in the second set, eased past her opponent. She made her return to the tour in April, but didn't contest her first Grand Slam tournament until the U.S. Open, in which she reached the fourth round. The backhand wing did the damage on break point as Sharapova stepped well inside the baseline to smack a cross-court return victor.
"It felt great to be back on the court and compete again", said Djokovic.
Sharapova regathered herself and hit a scarcely believable forehand crosscourt victor on the run to get to 5-2.
"I still have some pain", said Wawrinka, who underwent two operations to fix cartilage in his left knee last summer.
Sharapova, one of the highest earners in women´s sport, suffered a string of early defeats after her comeback but has been working her way back up the rankings since. Monfils continues what has been a really solid start to the 2018 season, as he's fresh off winning the Qatar Open and has now won 10 of his last 12 matches overall.