An upbeat Petra Kvitova said she will “use all my energy to focus on my recovery” after an attack by an intruder three days ago left her needing surgery on her hand.
The former world No. 2 won’t be able to play tennis for at least six months after she fought off the knife-wielding man in her apartment in Prostejov, Czech Republic on Tuesday.
Speaking in public for the first time since her ordeal, Kvitova told reporters: “I will do everything I can to return to the sport I love as soon as possible.”
Her left hand heavily bandaged, Kvitova seemed upbeat, laughing and joking with her coach, Jiri Vanek, and fitness trainer David Vydra, sitting by her side at the Sparta Prague tennis club in the Czech capital shortly after being released from hospital on Friday.
The two-time Wimbledon champion said she had been “overwhelmed by the floods of messages” of support from fellow players, fans and the public.
“Yesterday morning, during a session with the doctor, I was able to move the fingers on my left hand,” she said. “This to me is the greatest Christmas present I could have wished for.”
Czech police have released an identikit picture of Kvitova’s attacker, who remains at large.
In a statement issued by her spokeswoman shortly after the press conference, Kvitova further said: “While what happened to me was very scary, I do not see myself as a victim, I do not feel sorry for myself and I will not look backwards.”
Although the injury is severe — doctors repaired tendons on all five digits of her left hand as well as two nerves during a four-hour operation — her surgeon Radek Kebrle said on Wednesday “the best-case scenario” is that she will be able to return to the tennis court after six months. It was, however, too soon to specify a comeback to competition.
Kvitova, who has another home in Monaco, is one of many Czech pros who train at Prostejov’s tennis facility.
She is also recovering from a foot injury that had already ruled her out of her planned opening tournament of 2017, the Hopman Cup teams event in Perth, Australia.