PRAGUE: Czech tennis star Petra Kvitova is determined to play tennis again no matter what that requires after a knife-wielding intruder attacked her inside her home.
The two-time Wimbledon champion was released from a hospital on Friday, three days after she was operated following injuries in the attack in the town of Prostejov that will keep her out of the sport for at least six months.
With a big bandage covering her left hand and forearm, Kvitova said she was told by the surgeon who operated on her in a specialised clinic in the northern town of Vysoke nad Jizerou on Tuesday that her recovery is “looking good and without complications, as it should be”.
The world number 11 addressed the media directly for the first time after the four-hour operation to repair the tendons and nerve damage in her hand.
“Yesterday morning during a session [with] the doctor, I was able to move the fingers on my left hand which I think … was the greatest Christmas present I could have wished for.
“While what happened to me was very scary, I do not see myself as a victim, I do not feel sorry for myself and I will not look backwards.”
The identity of her assailant remains unknown, but Kvitova was swift to thank all those who had offered their support and comfort following her harrowing ordeal.
“The medical staff, police, my family and my team have all provided me with amazing support in this difficult situation,” she told the news conference at which she could be seen smiling and laughing at moments.
“I want to thank each and every one of them for the important part they have played in the past four days.”
She added: “I have been overwhelmed by the flood of messages and love received from the tennis family, fans and public: thank you.”
Martina Navratilova was among those who wished Kvitova “a speedy recovery”.
“We can’t wait to see you back on court again,” the tennis great tweeted.
Kvitova sustained damage to the tendons in her left hand, along with injuries to all five fingers and two nerves.
Doctors estimate it will take her about six months to return to tennis.
Kvitova vowed to come back, sooner or later.
“I have no choice but to look ahead, and not back, to see how everything will develop,” she said.
“It does not really matter to me how long it will take [to play again], whether it is three months, six months, a year or however long. But certainly I want to return one day and I will do everything possible to do so. I had no doubt about my return to the tennis circuit for a second.”
News of the attack on Kvitova this week shocked the tennis world. The hard-hitting 26-year-old rose to world number two in 2011 when she won the first of her two Wimbledon singles titles.
She had been a virtual fixture in the top 10 before slipping somewhat this season. However, she showed improved form in recent months, winning the Wuhan Open title in October and the season-ending WTA Elite trophy in November.
Kvitova, who helped her country win a fifth Fed Cup in six years last month, will miss January’s Australian Open in addition to the French Open from May 28-June 11, while her participation at Wimbledon in July remains uncertain.
Kvitova didn’t take questions but said she didn’t want to look back and talk about Tuesday’s incident.
Media have reported the intruder into her apartment had posed as a boiler inspector to get in. Police are still searching for her attacker. The attack has been described as a random act with Kvitova not specifically targeted.
Just hours before the attack, Kvitova had pulled out of the Hopman Cup in Perth starting on January 1 due to a stress fracture in her foot.
She said she hoped to start next year at Sydney on January 8 to warm up for the Australian Open — a plan since shelved as Kvitova begins her cautious road back to full health.
In April 1993, Monica Seles was at the height of her success when she was stabbed in the back during a changeover at a tournament in Hamburg. A man reached over a courtside railing and knifed her, leaving an inch-deep slit between her shoulder blades.
Seles returned to the game 27 months later and reached the 1995 US Open final.