"If you know anything about me I am strong and I will fight this."
Petra Kvitova could not be more right as she prepares for her first grand slam final since 2014.
A knife-wielding intruder left the Czech with severely damaged tendons in her left hand, along with injuries to all five fingers and two nerves, following a gruesome attack at her home in December 2016.
Kvitova was trying to defend herself when the two-time Wimbledon champion's world was turned upside down. She considered herself lucky to be alive.
Almost four hours of surgery was required to repair her playing hand. While the operation was deemed a success, there were genuine concerns that Kvitova would never play again.
Amid the doubts, the physical pain and mental anguish, she was back on the court and playing within five months.
A second-round berth at the 2017 French Open capped an emotional comeback. A run to the US Open quarter-finals later that year renewed hope of a return to the top of the women's game.
Five titles were added to Kvitova's collection in 2018 but she struggled on the biggest stage, where she so often shines.
Kvitova suffered first-round exits at the Australian Open and her beloved Wimbledon, and did not advance past the third round of a slam that year.
However, Kvitova's positivity and patience has paid off – a Sydney title proving the perfect tonic ahead of Saturday's Australian Open final showdown with Naomi Osaka.
"It's been a while. It's been five years. That's why I worked pretty hard to be back there. It just tastes very great," said Kvitova after outclassing Danielle Collins in the semis at Melbourne Park, where she hasn't dropped a set over the past fortnight.
"To be honest, I think not very many people believed that I could do that again, to stand on the court and play tennis and kind of play on this level. It was just really few of them, I think [that believed]. I'm very happy to have those few around me."
As the 28-year-old enjoys her "second career", Kvitova now stands on the cusp of her third major and the number one ranking in Melbourne.
The Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup would complete the fairytale comeback.