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Kvitova to miss six months after knife attack

Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova suffered an injury to all five fingers as well as two nerves in her left hand, her racket hand, after defending herself against an intruder © AFP/File / PATRICK HERTZOG

PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Dec 21 – Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova will need at least six months’ rest after her left hand was badly cut in a home invasion, the doctor who carried out her operation said on Wednesday.

“If we’re talking about returning to playing sport, it will be about six months,” surgeon Radek Kebrle told reporters, a day after performing a four-hour operation on the Czech star’s injured left hand.

A spokesperson for Kvitova estimated that the world number 11 would not even be able to grip a racket for at least three months while she recovered after fighting off a knife-wielding burglar at her home in the eastern Czech town of Prostejov.

“Petra will be on bed rest for 14 days, she will begin slow rehabilitation at around 6-8 weeks post operation,” read a statement from her management.

“The best-case scenario is that Petra will be able to return to the tennis 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 added.

“It’s a serious injury, a quite big one, and we must approach it from this point of view,” warned Kebrle, adding that he and his colleagues would do their best “so that everything was like before”.

The 26-year-old suffered an injury to all five fingers as well as two nerves in her left hand, her racket hand, after defending herself against the intruder.

“She suffered the injuries after grabbing the knife of the attacker. The operation lasted as long because the wounds were intricate and one had to go slowly, with lots of care, to avoid causing any more damage,” the doctor explained.

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“She’s young, in good health and has long, skinny fingers,” said Kebrle, adding that the surgery “went very well, with no complications” before providing an optimistic outlook for Kvitova’s recovery.

The former world number two, who helped her country win a fifth Fed Cup in six years last month, will miss January’s Australian Open in addition to the French Open from May 22-June 11, while her participation at Wimbledon in July remains uncertain.

Local police spokesman Frantisek Korinek said the attack had occurred before 0730 GMT on Tuesday near the town centre and that the burglar was still at large.

Just hours before the attack, Kvitova had pulled out of the Hopman Cup in Perth starting on January 1 due to a stress fracture in her foot.

She said she hoped to start next year at Sydney on January 8 to warm up for the Australian Open — a plan that she will have to drop following doctors’ orders.

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