Petra Kvitova was victorious in her emotional return to tennis less than six months after suffering injuries from a knife attack.
The first result at the 2017 French Open was a tearful one.
Less than six months after being attacked by an knife-wielding intruder in her apartment in the Czech town of Prostejov, Petra Kvitova was victorious in her first match back and first of the 2017 season. The two-time Wimbledon champ beat American Julia Boserup 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the second round, but the win was so much more than just a favorable scoreline for Kvitova.
“This match [is] special to me. I won for the second time, if I can say,” Kvitova said after the match. “It was nice and really heartwarming welcome in the Chatrier. My team was there. My family was there. Everyone who helped me through the difficult time. So it was a real pleasure to play in front of them and play how I played. I think I played well after six months off. I'm happy with the game, of course, but I mean, it wasn't really about the game today.”
Kvitova suffered injuries to her left hand from the attack and underwent more than three hours of surgery in December to repair damage to the tendons, all five fingers and two nerves. In January, Kvitova started doing exercises with the injured hand and in April, the left-handed Czech reported “good progress” in her recovery. Last week, she made a last-minute decision to play at Roland Garros and says she doesn’t feel much pain when playing.
“When I started to kind of play, I did feel a little bit,” Kvitova said of the pain in her left hand. “But it was everything about the scars. The scars were very tight and very hard. So every time I touched a ball, I felt it. But of course you need to have some kind of pain but not like too much, and that's was on me, on my decision, to stop it or no. From the beginning, I had my fingers swollen a lot, as well. I hit like 15 minutes, for example, or then we had to just finish the practices. But I have to say, like, last one month was no pain at all. So I'm happy that it's still continuing like that.”
Kvitova moves into the second round to face the winner of the match between Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Evgeniya Rodina.
After the match, many current and former players congratulated Kvitova on her emotional win and her return to tennis.
Kvitova’s team all wore special shirts that read, “Courage, Belief, Pojd!” during her match.
“We were thinking how can we do something special?” Kvitova said of the shirts. “The courage and belief, that's what I probably had to have in this kind of situation. The belief and the mind, the heart, it's really important. So that's why what we try to show everyone. I hope that it will be kind of inspiration for other people, as well.”