Monica Seles could make an emotional return to the game at the French Open in May after coming through her first match in 10 months unscathed.
The American lost to fellow former world number one Martina Navratilova in an exhibition match in the U.S. on Monday night but was thrilled at coming through the test unscathed.
Seles is already talking of a comeback to the tour, but the 30-year-old knows she must learn to walk before she can run.
“I’ve got to take it very slowly,” Seles, who has slipped to 224 in the rankings, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch after her 6-4 7-6 defeat.
“I’ve got to take baby steps. I have a tendency to go right into it, but I learned my lesson.
“I’ve got to be careful with this injury.”
The Yugoslav-born American has been sidelined by a foot injury since the French Open last May.
“I want to see how it goes for the next few weeks and how I feel,” Seles said.
“The doctor wants me to take it slowly because he knows I have a problem where I want to do everything immediately. He wants me to be as patient as I can.”
While Seles knows she must be patient, she did say, however, that the French Open was in her plans.
In recent years, the American has been a firm favourite with the Paris crowd. They took her to their heart in 1998 when Roland Garros was the scene for her first match since the death of her father Karolj just a fortnight earlier.
The last time Seles and Navratilova met on the WTA Tour was in February 1993.
Two months later, Seles was stabbed in the back by Guenter Parche during her quarter-final match in Hamburg, subsequently missing more than two years on the WTA Tour.
Seles has won 53 career titles, including nine grand slam crowns and has spent 178 weeks at number one in the world.