Tennis: Petra Kvitova says she's lucky to be alive after intruder injures her with knife in burglary attempt

PETRA KVITOVA, Czech tennis star, who despite her serious injury, still sounds positive.
PETRA KVITOVA, Czech tennis star, who despite her serious injury, still sounds positive.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Tennis star's playing hand badly injured after intruder attacks her with knife at home

PRAGUE • Two-time Wimbledon tennis champion Petra Kvitova has said that she is "fortunate to be alive", after suffering severe hand injuries while fending off a knife- wielding intruder in her home in the Czech Republic yesterday.

The world No. 11 was assaulted by a burglar in her apartment in the city of Prostejov, about 260km south-east of Prague. He stole 5,000 Czech koruna (S$278), according to sport.cz.

A spokesman for the city hospital said she had been treated for a knife injury on her left playing hand, without going into further detail.

In a statement on her Facebook page, Kvitova said: "Today I was attacked in my apartment by an individual with a knife.

"In my attempt to defend myself, I was badly injured on my left hand. I am shaken, but fortunate to be alive. 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.

"What has happened to me was not pleasant at all, but it is already behind me. 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."

Her spokesman Karel Tejkal told CTK news agency the attack had been "a random criminal act".

HOPING FOR THE BEST

What has happened to me was not pleasant at all, but it is already behind me. 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.

PETRA KVITOVA, Czech tennis star, who despite her serious injury, still sounds positive.

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

Police have confirmed that the culprit remains at large. A spokesman for the police, Frantisek Korinek, told blesk.cz: "Today before half past eight in the morning, a 26-year-old woman was attacked near Prostejov.

"The unidentified perpetrator broke into the apartment using a ruse."

He added that the attacker, a man estimated to be about 35 years old, escaped from the scene and that police have launched a manhunt.

Kvitova is not the only female tennis player to have fallen victim to a violent crime.

In 2007, Anna Chakvetadze, a former world No. 5, was tied up along with her parents during a robbery in Moscow in which masked men stole £150,000 (S$268,000) worth of cash and jewellery, an attack she admitted left her suffering sleepless nights.

Former world No. 1 Monica Seles was at the height of her success in April 1993 when she was stabbed in the back during a changeover at a tournament in Hamburg.

A man reached over a courtside railing and stabbed her, leaving an inch-deep slit between her shoulder blades. Seles returned to the game 27 months later and reached the 1995 US Open final.

The burglary yesterday adds a sombre ending to a rather lacklustre year for Kvitova, who slid from sixth in the world in January to 16th in August.

She sacked two coaches before winning the Wuhan Open in China in October after a 13-month title drought. She added a victory at Zhuhai last month and was on the Czech team that beat France for their fifth Fed Cup title in six years.

On Dec 1, Kvitova hired a new coach, Czech Jiri Vanek, who had guided her Fed Cup team-mate Karolina Pliskova to this year's US Open final.

A bronze medallist at the Rio Olympics and Wimbledon champion in 2011 and 2014, she is also recovering from a stress fracture on her foot which has ruled her out of the mixed-team Hopman Cup starting on Jan 1.

"I am so disappointed I will be unable to play at the Hopman Cup," she said earlier. "The results of an MRI have confirmed that my foot is healing, but not as quickly as we would have liked.

"The Hopman Cup is a fantastic event and I'm sorry I won't be able to represent my country there."

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 21, 2016, with the headline 'Kvitova 'lucky to be alive''. Print Edition | Subscribe