Tennis:Kvitova to return after recovering

Czech announces she'll play at Wimbledon, less than seven months after being stabbed

LONDON • Two-time champion Petra Kvitova is set to play at Wimbledon this summer, less than seven months after she was stabbed by an intruder in her home, a member of her support team said yesterday.

The Czech, who required four hours of surgery to her left, playing hand after the December attack at home in her home city of Prostejov, has made a faster than expected recovery and could even be ready to play in the French Open, which begins in Paris on Sunday.

"She is on track for Wimbledon," Katie Spellman, Kvitova's publicity manager said. "She will make a last-minute decision this week about Roland Garros."

Kvitova, who won Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014, will be included on the official entry list for this year's tournament, which will be released today.

"(We are) always pleased to welcome former champions back to Wimbledon, and would be delighted if Petra Kvitova is able to compete in The Championships this year," Wimbledon said in a statement.

"We wish her well with her ongoing preparations to return to competition."

Kvitova was attacked on Dec 20 by a man who gained access to her apartment block by posing as a utilities man, before holding a knife to her throat.

In pulling the knife away, Kvitova sustained injuries to tendons in all four fingers and the thumb on her left hand. She said she was "shaken, but fortunate to be alive".

Doctors had said at the time the "best-case scenario" was that Kvitova could be playing tennis again within six months.


Petra Kvitova facing the media after surgery on her playing hand in December. The double Wimbledon champion said that she was "shaken, but fortunate to be alive" after a knife attack. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Throughout her recovery, the 27-year-old has amazed everyone in her team with her positivity and belief that she would be back on Tour, and sooner rather than later.

Last month, Kvitova said she had left her name on the entry list for the French Open, in part to ensure she had a positive mindset as she continued her recovery.

Earlier this month, she posted a photo of herself practising in Monte Carlo.The draw for the French Open is due to be made at Roland Garros on Friday.

Given the physicality required to play on clay, and the stress of a Grand Slam, it would still be a surprise if she does take her place in the draw at Roland Garros.

If she decides not to play, Kvitova is likely to look to play a warm-up event on grass before Wimbledon, the venue where she has achieved most success.

Her return would also be a welcome boost for the women's Tour, especially with Serena Williams on maternity leave.

Kvitova, who last played in the Fed Cup final against France on Nov 12, is ranked 16th.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 24, 2017, with the headline 'Kvitova to return after recovering'. Print Edition | Subscribe