PRAGUE • Petra Kvitova could return to tennis within six months following a knife attack that could have been career-ending and which the two-time Wimbledon champion admitted had her fearing for her life.
Radek Kebrle, the surgeon who operated on the world No. 11, said on Wednesday afternoon that the operation to repair tendons and nerves in her left hand - her main playing hand - went "very well, with no complications".
He added: "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."
It seems inconceivable the 26-year-old could return to the Tour before July's Wimbledon, the Major in which she made her breakthrough in 2011, and which she won again in 2014.
Given the severity of the injuries and the length of the operation, it seems certain she will face a long period of rehabilitation before beginning even light practice.
The Women's Tennis Association (WTA), the organising body for the women's professional game, said it regretted Kvitova's absence from the circuit and suggested that her future in the sport was uncertain.
"It's unclear if or when Kvitova will be back on the court, and the start of 2017 won't be the same without her unique power and competitive spirit," the WTA said on its website.
Kvitova was already in doubt for the Australian Open next month because of a foot injury at the end of one of her toughest seasons.
She began the year ranked No. 6 in the world and tumbled out of the top 10 for the first time since 2013.
She changed coaches twice and separated from her long-time fiance, the Czech ice hockey player Radek Meidl.
THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS