Looking relieved, Maria Sharapova went through her familiar routine of waving to the crowd and blowing kisses after winning her first match on her return from a 15-month doping ban on Wednesday.
The five-time Grand Slam champion and former No. 1 beat Roberta Vinci 7-5, 6-3 in the opening round of the Porsche Grand Prix.
"It was the best feeling in the world," Sharapova said about stepping on court again for a professional match. "I have been waiting for this a long time."
Sharapova had earlier been given a lukewarm welcome by the 4,500 spectators, receiving a polite applause and some whistling when she entered the sold-out arena.