Linz ( Austria) Oct 26: Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli said she plunged into the depths of despair last week after being warned her career could be over.
The French world number nine had limped out of the Zurich Open in tears after injuring her left knee during her quarter-final clash with compatriot Tatiana Golovin.
When she returned home and was examined by a doctor, she received a pessimistic diagnosis.
''The doctor told me I will have six months off the court, I would have surgery and maybe my career will stop because my knee was too injured,'' she told reporters at the Linz Open, where she has reached the quarter-finals.
''It was really bad news and I cried for two days during the weekend. But on Monday morning my dad drove me to Lyon because he knows the best knee specialist in France there. I was feeling inside it was not so bad as the first doctor told me.
''In the end I went to see three different doctors and they told me I had twisted my knee but it wasn't that bad. My patella went out of position so they put it back in place and they said that if I wanted to go and play yesterday it was fine for them but if I was feeling pain again when I tried to practise on Tuesday and Wednesday then I could not go to Linz.
''So I practised at home in Geneva on Tuesday and Wednesday because I really wanted to come here and I didn't feel any pain so I knew I was fine to come.'' The number three seed at the Linz Open came through her opening match against 16-year-old Austrian Tamira Paszek in style, winning 6-2 6-1 yesterday.
''It's not 100 percent but still all right to be able to play,'' said Bartoli. ''I feel sometimes a little pain, especially when I move and I have a hard step to take on my left leg. I'm using my leg and not too much my upper body when I serve usually but like this I cannot use my leg and have to use my upper body, so that's good for me.'' Bartoli said the injury had taught her a lesson.
''When you have that kind of news from a doctor, when you're just able to walk and go onto the court each morning you're happy,'' she said. ''Maybe this episode has learned me one thing.
Before, I was putting so much pressure on myself to play good every day and try to be at my best.
''But I learned from this experience that if you lose, play bad, it doesn't matter really. I have to take some pressure off myself because it's so much fun to just go on court and play.''