(Reuters) - Tennis's great survivor Tommy Haas begun yet another injury comeback this week after a year out following shoulder surgery.
When the patched-up German had his latest brush with the surgeon's scalpel in June last year, it looked as though the former world number two would be hanging up his racket.
But, at the age of 37, Haas is back in action on the grasscourts at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart -- 12 months after his right shoulder broke down.
He showed that his game is still intact too, beating Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin 6-4 7-5 to set up a second-round meeting with Australian Bernard Tomic.
"It was a very special feeling, especially when I didn't know what it would feel like or how you might perform walking out onto court," wildcard Haas, who recived a raptuous ovation, told the ATP's website.
"There were emotions before and after the match, but it was a great start to get a win."
Haas, who broke both his ankles during the early days of his career and missed most of the 2010 season after hip surgery and all of 2003 following right shoulder surgery, is yet to decide how many tournaments he will enter this year.
"The goal is to stay healthy, to get the shoulder better and better to a point where I feel like I am comfortable to play and can focus on trying to win matches, instead of worrying about getting enough speed on my first serve, or how it feels after a set or two," he said.
"These are the things that you don't want to worry about too much when you go out there, as matches often come down to one or two points. I'd like to get some matches to get a feel of how it's like to compete. Then I'll make a decision from there.
"Overall, I am really happy. The shoulder is feeling pretty good," he added.
(Writing by Martyn Herman; editing by Justin Palmer)