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Petra Kvitova attacked in own home, undergoes four hour surgery

The World No. 11 will miss most of the 2017 season as she recovers.

News 20 Dec 2016, 16:46 IST
BEIJING, CHINA - OCTOBER 07:  Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic returns a shot against Madison Keys of the United States during her Women's Singles Quarter Finals match on day seven of the 2016 China Open at the China National Tennis Centre on October 7, 2016 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Etienne Oliveau/Getty Images)
26-year-old Kvitova was attacked at her home in the Czech Republic

Two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova has been attacked in her own home in the Czech Republic, it has emerged.  The attacker, whose identity is unknown, is alleged to have  stabbed the 26-year-old with a knife, with the Czech ace receiving “serious injuries” to the tendons in her left hand. 

The left-hander, famed for her power-hitting, groundstrokes and agility, sadly sustained injuries to her dominant playing hand; she is however now safe and in hospital, with doctors saying in a statement that her injuries were “not life-threatening.”

Her spokesman, Karel Tejkal, said in a statement to local news agencies that the attack had been a “random criminal act.”

"She was assaulted in her apartment and is in the care of doctors, but her injuries are not life threatening,” he said. 

Although statements say that the World No. 11’s injuries were sustained in a ‘random attack’, the targetted stabbing echoes some elements of the stabbing of former No. 1 Monica Seles at a tennis tournament in Hamburg in 1993. A deranged fan of German former No. 1 Steffi Graf stabbed Seles between the shoulders; understandably seriously traumatized by the incident, Seles did not return to playing tennis full-time for two years. 

Kvitova had announced only earlier this morning that she had withdrawn from the team tennis Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia next January due to injury woes.

Authorities have now said the incident was an attempted burglary; Kvitova will be one of a growing number of tennis players who have been the victim of these attempts. In 2008, Russian ace Anna Chakvetadze and her family were held up at gunpoint in their Moscow residence, escaping with injuries as the burglars made away with money and jewellery.  

The Russian had been targeted by her attackers, who claimed the prizes she had won at tournaments in the weeks prior, and the incident, the Chakvetadze said, precipitated her premature retirement from the sport, aged only 26. 

Kvitova made her WTA Elite Trophy debut this year, winning the title – and as a result became the first player to win both the WTA year-ending finals on debut. 

Intensive surgery, outcome largely successful

Taken to the nearest specialty hospital in Brno, Kvitova underwent an intensive surgery for just under four hours, with her spokesperson saying in a statement that she had suffered damage to her “left arm and all five fingers.”

She is expected to make a recovery, with spokesman Karel Tejkal telling assembled press there was “no reason she cannot play tennis again.”

Kvitova will be unable to train for over three months, however, he said, meaning the 26-year-old will sit out the Australian Open and much of the initial part of the season. While the physical rehabilitation is a significant part of her recovery, it is likely Kvitova will undergo counseling for the extreme mental trauma sustained in the shock attack.

The suspect, thought to be a 35-year-old man, is on the run, having escaped after the attack at Kvitova’s apartment; Czech police have announced a ‘manhunt.’ 

Kvitova’s statement

In a statement to her Facebook page, Kvitova said her injury was “severe, but if you know anything about me I am strong and will fight this.”

Her statement in full:

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