INTERVIEW-Tennis-Assault sufferer Kvitova relishing Wimbledon return

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By Simon Evans

BIRMINGHAM, England Twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova says returning to the scene of her “fairytale” first grand slam win can be a very emotional event this 12 months.

Kvitova solely just lately returned to competitors after a knife assault at her dwelling within the Czech Republic in December left her with an injured left hand.

Rehab has solely been a part of the work that the 27-year-old has needed to endure. Psychologically, the violent tried theft clearly left a scar.

She returned to motion on the French Open this month, shedding within the second spherical, and he or she is taking part in on the grass on the Aegon Traditional at Edgbaston this week as she builds as much as her favorite occasion.

“Once I was on the way in which again I assumed, I would like to play Wimbledon and I really feel that I can say, indirectly, I’m prepared for Wimbledon. I performed Roland Garros as a preparation,” she advised Reuters.

Kvitova, who performs fellow Czech Tereza Smitkova in Birmingham on Tuesday, mentioned she had been overwhelmed by the welcome she bought from fellow gamers and others within the sport.

“It was superb. I used to be actually wanting ahead to seeing different gamers and coaches (however) I didn’t anticipate that vast welcome from all of them. It was so good to see all of them smiling and wishing me good luck and welcoming me again,” she mentioned.

She will anticipate rather more of that when she turns up on the All England Membership the place she loved a shock win over Maria Sharapova within the 2011 ultimate after which triumphed once more three years later, beating Canadian Eugenie Bouchard.

“I like the individuals there. I like England. At Wimbledon, it feels so quiet, so comfortable, for me as a house. I’m at all times renting a home and for me it’s greater than a event, I really feel like we’re a household there. It’s simply extra relaxed for me, it’s superb,” she mentioned.

Kvitova was an eighth-ranked 21-year-old when she first gained Wimbledon and he or she admits she didn’t actually know the right way to deal with the second.

“The primary one was like a fairytale, I’ve to say. I actually didn’t know what was occurring. I gained the grand slam however I used to be like ‘OK, what now?’. It was actually happiness however I by no means anticipated to win that, so it was a shock for me and different individuals. The second was extra particular, deeper, I actually loved it extra,” mentioned the Czech.


It will be a significant shock if, after all the pieces that has occurred, Kvitova have been to say a 3rd Wimbledon title.

Whereas she is again in motion, her hand stays troublesome and he or she will not be positive if it’s going to ever absolutely be again to the way it was.

“Naturally, it isn’t absolutely recovered, it’s going to nonetheless take a couple of extra months, perhaps a 12 months, who is aware of, nobody can actually say,” she mentioned.

“I’m not positive if any day it will likely be 100 %, I don’t suppose so however I simply have to do what I can.”

She added: “I have to dwell with it. I feel I should get used to my ‘new hand’ if I can name it that, we’re nonetheless fearful about some irritation and that sort of factor however I feel it’s a small threat, now in contrast to a couple months in the past.”

There has additionally been a therapeutic course of psychologically as she handled the shock of the violent intrusion in her home.

“It wasn’t straightforward. I’d lie if I mentioned it was straightforward. The primary days, first months, have been very tough mentally as properly, I do have my psychological coach so I used to be working with him loads on this however I’ve to say that individuals round me, household and mates, helped me loads as properly. I feel I get over it,” she mentioned.

“It should most likely nonetheless be there for the remainder of my life however I feel I’ll take care of it someway.”

The previous 12 months has additionally given Kvitova a unique perspective on her career and one she’s going to take along with her to Wimbledon.

“I feel the principle factor is that I like taking part in tennis and like to be again and that’s what I’m actually having fun with now. In all probability I’ve by no means loved tennis as a lot I do know – it’s a lovely feeling, I’ve to say.

“I at all times cherished to play tennis however now it’s a completely different stage. That’s what is vital for me proper now, it doesn’t matter what number of matches, if I win or lose or no matter, I’ll simply take pleasure in it.

“In fact I’m again as a result of I need to win some massive tournaments, however it isn’t simply that I’m going there due to that. I’m simply actually glad I can play tennis once more”.

(Reporting by Simon Evans; Modifying by Alison Williams)


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