Tennis: Petra Kvitova gives 'bloody' account of December 2016 assault at trial of attacker

Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova attends a news conference after losing her match against Japan's Naomi Osaka, on Jan 26, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (THE GUARDIAN) - Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova has told a Czech court how she grabbed the blade of an intruder's knife and forced it away from her neck, leaving blood "everywhere" during an attack at her home in December 2016.

Kvitova suffered severe wounds to her playing left hand as she grappled with the man.

She returned to professional tennis in May 2017, culminating 18 months later with her first Grand Slam final, at the 2019 Australian Open, since winning Wimbledon in 2014.

Giving testimony at the trial of the 33-year-old man charged with her assault, Kvitova said she had felt no pain when the 25cm blade cut into her hand.

To avoid being in the same room as the suspect during the trial, Kvitova sat in a separate room at the Brno regional courthouse, giving a detailed account via microphone and camera of how the suspect entered her apartment and attacked her.

The man had rung her doorbell at 8.30am, posing as a workman who had come to inspect the hot water system in the flat, the Czech news website Idnes quoted her as saying.

"He asked me to turn on the hot water tap and, at that moment, I had a knife against my neck," she said.

"I grabbed it with both hands. I held the blade with my left hand. I snatched it away, I fell on the floor and there was blood everywhere."

Kvitova described how she tried to reach her mobile phone on the floor, but he pushed it away. She told him she needed to go to hospital and asked whether he wanted money.

"He asked how much I had. I said 10,000 korunas (S$596) and he said, 'Okay'. I gave him the money, he left and I called the ambulance and then the police," she added.

Though she had felt no pain when the attacker cut her hand, Kvitova said: "When I saw the blood, I started blubbing. All the fingers on my left hand had been cut, and the nerves in my thumb and index finger severed.

"Even today, the mobility is not 100 per cent. There is no sensitivity in the tips (of my thumb and index finger)."

Kvitova said she had recognised the assailant in photos provided by the police.

"I knew it was him the moment I saw him (in the pictures). I remembered his eyes mainly."

The suspect faces up to 12 years in jail if convicted. He has been sentenced to two and a half years in a separate case. His trial in the Kvitova case will continue with expert testimony.

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