Two-time Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova underwent hand surgery following “severe tendon damage” to her dominant hand following an attack in her Czech Republic home. There were no complications, and she is expected to return to the court in as little as 6-months time.
Police in the Czech Republic were hunting the assailant who conned his way into Kvitova’s flat in the eastern town of Prostejov by posing as an electricity-maintenance worker before trying to rob her at knife-point.
The attack happened before 8.30am local time when Kvitova, who was eating breakfast, answered the doorbell to a man who claimed he had come to read the meter. After being allowed into the flat, he threatened her with the knife, a police spokesman said.
The 26-year-old Czech fought back but suffered cuts to all five fingers of her playing hand, her left, sustaining damage to the tendons, according to the local Prostojovsky Vecernik newspaper. The attacker, described as around 5ft 11in and aged about 35, stole 5,000 koruna before fleeing and is thought to be still at large. Police appealed to the public to report anyone meeting his description.
“Petra will be on bed-rest for 14 days, she will begin slow rehabilitation at around six to eight weeks post-operation. If that rehabilitation process goes well, Petra should be able to grip a racket for the first time [but not play tennis] at three months.
“The best case scenario is Petra will be able to return to the court after six months. It is too soon to specify when precisely she can return to competition but Petra is ready to do everything she can to get back competing at the highest level. Petra is happy with how the operation went and is in good spirits.”
Kvitova’s manager, Katie Spellman, earlier tweeted: “Petra has undergone surgery for three hours and 45 minutes. Considering the extent of the damage, the surgery went very well. Doctors repaired damage to tendons in all five digits of the left hand, as well as two nerves. Petra will wear a cast on her hand for six to eight weeks and will be unable to bear weight for three months.”
This incident brings to mind the 1993 stabbing of tennis star Monica Seles by a crazed fan of rival Steffi Graf. Though that attack only resulted in minor physical injuries, the psychological scars devastated Seles.
It’s impossible to overstate how the Seles stabbing affected not just her career, but the entire game of tennis and, to some extent, pro sports as a whole. Seles was, in both ranking and demeanor, atop the world. At age 19, she was coming off a run of 22 straight singles titles, and held eight Grand Slam tournaments. She and Graf appeared poised to give tennis fans a rivalry to echo Evert-Navratilova and Sampras-Agassi.
But in the wake of the incident, Seles would stay away from the game for more than two years. While Seles would win one more major, as well as an Olympic bronze medal in 2000, Graf, without a true rival, completely destroyed the women’s game, winning a total of 22 majors in her career.
Here’s to hoping Ms. Kvitova makes a full recovery, physically as well as psychologically.