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Kvitova has surgery after knife attack

Associated Press logo Associated Press 20/12/2016 Karel Janicek

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova has undergone nearly four hours of surgery on her playing hand after being attacked by a knife-wielding intruder in her home in the Czech Republic.

The operation revealed that the left-handed player's injuries were "serious," but "there's no reason to think she wouldn't be able to play tennis," her spokesman Karel Tejkal said.

Kvitova will, however, miss the Australian Open and a significant part of the season as she won't be able to fully train for at least three months, Tejkal said.

Kvitova sustained damaged to the tendons in her left hand, along with injuries to all five fingers and two nerves, Tejkal added.

The 2011 and 2014 champion at the All England Club said she considered herself lucky to have survived the attack on Tuesday morning in the eastern Czech town of Prostejov.

"In my attempt to defend myself, I was badly injured on my left hand. I am shaken, but fortunate to be alive," Kvitova wrote on Twitter.

"The injury is severe and I will need to see specialists, but if you know anything about me I am strong and I will fight this."

In an earlier statement on the Facebook page of the Czech Republic's Fed Cup team, Kvitova said: "What happened to me was certainly not pleasant, but it's behind me. I have the best possible care and I'm in touch with my loved ones. The worst is behind me."

It was not immediately clear how the injury could affect Kvitova's play. She underwent surgery "because of her condition and future career," said Tejkal, who described the incident as a burglary.

Police spokesman Frantisek Korinek said the attacker, a man who is about 35 years old, escaped from the scene and was at large. He said police have launched a manhunt.

Kvitova was scheduled to participate in a charity event in the city of Brno on Tuesday with another Czech player, Lucie Safarova.

"It's horrible," Safarova told Czech public radio. "Things like that are shocking to all of us. It can happen to anyone of us. That's really terrible."

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.

In an unrelated move earlier on Tuesday, Kvitova withdrew from the Czech Republic team at next month's Hopman Cup mixed-team tennis tournament because of a foot injury.

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