Twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova said on Friday she would do everything she could to return to tennis after suffering a hand injury in a knife attack that will keep her out of the sport for at least six months.
Kvitova was wounded on Tuesday when she fought off an intruder at her home in the Czech Republic, damaging all the fingers on her left playing hand.
The world No.11 addressed the media directly for the first time on Friday after an operation to repair the tendons in her hand and was determined to get back to playing.
“I have no choice but to look ahead, and not back, to see how everything will develop,” she told a news conference at which she could be seen smiling and laughing at moments.
“It does not really matter to me how long it will take (to play again), whether it is three months, six months, a year or however long. But certainly I want to return one day and I will do everything possible to do so.”
Kvitova said she had been able to move her fingers in a session with doctors on Thursday, which she called “the greatest Christmas present”.
“I never received so many (supportive) messages in my life at a moment,” she said. “I really appreciate that.”
Martina Navratilova was among those who wished Kvitova “a speedy recovery.”
“We can’t wait to see you back on court again,” the tennis great tweeted.
Kvitova sustained damage to the tendons in her left hand, along with injuries to all five fingers and two nerves.
Kvitova won Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014. She reached a career-high ranking of No. 2 in 2011, but finished the 2016 season as No. 11.
Kvitova didn’t take questions but said she didn’t want to look back and talk about Tuesday’s incident. The attacker is still at large.
In April 1993, Monica Seles was at the height of her success when she was stabbed in the back during a changeover at a tournament in Hamburg.
A man reached over a courtside railing and knifed 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.