Tuesday 20 August 2019

Fears for top tennis star's career after home knife attack

Petra Kvitova in action at Wimbledon earlier this year. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire
Petra Kvitova in action at Wimbledon earlier this year. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Martyn Herman

Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitová's tennis career is under threat after she suffered severe injuries defending herself from a knife-wielding intruder.

The world number 11 had four hours of surgery to her playing hand yesterday following the attack in her apartment in the Czech city of Prostejov.

She said the attack by a burglar had left her "shaken, but fortunate to be alive".

"In my attempt to defend myself, I was badly injured on my left hand," Ms Kvitová said. "The injury is severe and I will need to see specialists, but if you know anything about me I am strong and I will fight this."

Kvitová was alone in her home, about 260km southeast of Prague, the location of a tennis club where she, men's world number 10 Tomás Berdych and other top-ranked Czech players often train.

The 26-year-old had been due later in the day to play a charity event in the Czech Republic's second biggest city Brno alongside compatriot Lucie Safárová. The pair had been fixtures in the Czech Fed Cup team that had won the premier women's team tennis event in five of the last six years.

"What happened to Petra, can happen to any of us. I got goosebumps from it," Ms Safárová said.

Czech-born tennis great Martina Navratilova said on Twitter: "Just finding out about @Petra_Kvitová and the awful stabbing and injury to her hand - pulling for you Petra."

World number three Agnieszka Radwanska also voiced her support. "My thoughts are with @Petra_Kvitová. Terrible news," she said on Twitter.

Karel Tejkal, spokesman for the Czech Fed Cup team, said the morning attack had been "a random criminal act" and Ms Kvitová had not been specifically targeted. Media reported the intruder presented himself to Ms Kvitová as a boiler inspector.

"What has happened to me was not pleasant at all, but it is already behind me," Ms Kvitová said. "The main thing for me now is that the doctors will determine how my hand is doing. I trust them and I believe that it will end well."

She won the first of her two Wimbledon singles titles in 2011.

Police are still hunting the unknown attacker.

Irish Independent

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