Kvitova to confront harrowing nightmare
AUSTRALIAN Open finalist Petra Kvitova hailed the end of her grand slam bad luck - and of a two-year transition following a knife attack that almost ended her career.
But the Czech superstar and now world No.2 will have to confront haunting memories of the attack as she prepares to face court to testify against her attacker.
The attack from the knife-wielding burglar in December 2016 left deep scars on her left hand and even deeper emotions that spilled out over the two weeks of the Australian Open.
But Kvitova identified the man and is set to testify in court in early February on the condition she does not meet the suspect.
"Petra takes this as an inevitable thing. She knows it's necessary to put an end to the whole affair," her spokesman Karel Tejkal said.
Kvitova herself declined to speak about the attack that required a complicated surgery and saw her sink from sixth to 16th in the world.
"Such questions make me a bit angry but I can't do anything about it. But it will be over some day," she said.
Kvitova gained plenty of admirers for the way she played in Melbourne but also how she held herself despite the attack clearly being raw.
After her 7-6 5-7 6-4 loss to Naomi Osaka in the final of the Australian Open, Kvitova almost brought the crowd to tears again in her emotional speech.
"It has been a great tournament for me and for me it's a big honour to hold this beautiful trophy as well and it's a big honour to be in the final for me," she said.
"Of course, I need to thank my family and friends back home. They were supporting me throughout the match. I want to say thank you to everyone who made this possible. It's a great tournament, a great event and I always love to come back and play in front of you guys.
"And to my team, thank you for everything but mostly thank you for sticking with me even though we didn't know if I would be able to hold a racquet again.
"You were supporting me every single day and staying positive for me which I really needed. It wasn't that easy so thank you so much. Thank you so much to all of you for coming to support us and hopefully we'll be healthy and we'll see you next year."
Kvitova had only played in two grand slam quarter-finals since her Wimbledon triumph in 2014 and joked last year that she might as well quit playing at the top four events.
At the Australian Open, she didn't lose a set until the final.
"I'm glad it was only a joke, that it didn't happen," the 28-year-old, who also won Wimbledon in 2011, said.
"I guess it's a compensation for last year which wasn't the best when it comes to Grand Slams.
"I wasn't too happy after the loss but now the positive things prevail.
"I felt very well throughout those three weeks I played in Australia."
Kvitova will face the winner of Victoria Azarenka and qualifier Margarirta Gasparyan at the St Petersburg Open after a first round bye.
- with AFP
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