May 23, 2017 / 9:56 AM / 6 months ago

Exclusive - Twice champion Kvitova set for Wimbledon after stabbing

LONDON (Reuters) - Twice champion Petra Kvitova is set to play at Wimbledon this summer, less than seven months after she was stabbed by an intruder in her home, a member of her support team told Reuters on Tuesday.

Czech Republic's tennis player Petra Kvitova speaks during a news conference, after she was injured on Tuesday when she fought off an intruder in her home, damaging all the fingers on her playing hand, in Prague, Czech Republic December 23, 2016. REUTERS/David W Cerny/Files

The Czech, who required four hours of surgery to her left, playing, hand after the December attack at home in her home city of Prostejov, has made a faster than expected recovery and could even be ready to play in the French Open, which begins in Paris on Sunday.

“She is on track for Wimbledon,” Katie Spellman, Kvitova’s publicity manager, told Reuters. “She will make a last minute decision this week about Roland Garros.”

Kvitova, who won Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014, will be included on the official entry list for this year’s Championships, which will be released on Wednesday.

“The AELTC is always pleased to welcome former champions back to Wimbledon, and would be delighted if Petra Kvitova is able to compete in The Championships this year,” Wimbledon said in a statement to Reuters.

“We wish her well with her ongoing preparations to return to competition.”

ATTACKED AT HOME

Kvitova was attacked at around 8.30am on December 20 by a man who gained access to her apartment block by posing as a utilities man, before holding a knife to her throat.

In pulling the knife away, Kvitova sustained injuries to tendons in all four fingers and the thumb on her left hand. She said she was “shaken, but fortunate to be alive”.

Doctors had said at the time the “best-case scenario” was that Kvitova could be playing tennis again within six months.

Czech Republic's tennis player Petra Kvitova leaves after a news conference, after she was injured on Tuesday when she fought off an intruder in her home, damaging all the fingers on her playing hand, in Prague, Czech Republic December 23, 2016. REUTERS/David W Cerny/Files

Throughout her recovery, the 27-year-old has amazed everyone in her team with her positivity and belief that she would be back on Tour, and sooner rather than later.

Last month, Kvitova said she had left her name on the entry list for the French Open, in part to ensure she had a positive mind-set as she continued her recovery.

Earlier this month, she posted a photo of herself practising in Monte Carlo.

The draw for the French Open is due to be made at Roland Garros on Friday.

Given the physicality required to play on clay, and the stress of a grand slam, it would still be a surprise if she does take her place in the draw at Roland Garros.

If she decides not to play, Kvitova is likely to look to play a warm-up event on grass before Wimbledon, the venue where she has achieved most success.

One of the cleanest ball-strikers on the Tour, she won her first grand slam title there in 2011, when she upset Maria Sharapova in the final.

In 2014, she won the title again with a crushing 6-3 6-0 victory over Eugenie Bouchard in what is remembered as one of the best performances ever produced in the final.

Her return would also be a welcome boost for the women’s Tour, especially with Serena Williams on maternity leave.

Kvitova, who last played in the Fed Cup final against France on November 12, is ranked 16th.

Editing by: Ossian Shine

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