When she was the No. 11 tennis player in the world, Petra Kvitova was the victim of a December 2016 knife attack at her home in Prostejov, Czech Republic. It slashed all five fingers of her playing hand. After nearly four hours of surgery and five months of recovery, she won her first match back in May 2017.
Kvitova would go on to play her way into the U.S. Open quarterfinal that year, then back into the top 10, and then, this year, all the way into the Australian Open final. There, the two-time major winner lost in three sets to Naomi Osaka, but returned to a career-high No. 2 ranking. Ten days after that match, Kvitova offered testimony at the trial of 33-year-old Radim Zondra, the suspect in the attack.
Here’s how Reuters translated Kvitova’s words on Tuesday, delivered via video feed so she did not have to be in the same room as the suspect. She described grabbing the attacker’s 10-inch knife and forcing it away from her neck, cutting her left hand in the process:
The man had rung her doorbell at 8:30 a.m. posing as a workman come to inspect the hot water system in the flat, the Czech news website quoted her as saying.
“He asked me to turn on the hot water tap and at that moment I had a knife against my neck. I grabbed it with both hands. I held the blade with my left hand. I snatched it away, I fell on the floor and there was blood everywhere,” she said.
Kvitova described how she tried to reach her mobile phone on the carpet but he pushed it away. She told him she needed to go to hospital and asked whether he wanted money.
“He asked how much I had. I said ten thousand crowns ($440) and he said ‘OK’. I gave him the money, he left and I called the ambulance and then the police,” she added.
Though she had felt no pain when the attacker cut her hand, Kvitova said: “When I saw the blood, I started blubbing.”
“All the fingers on my left hand had been cut, and the nerves in my thumb and index finger severed. Even today, the mobility is not 100 percent. There is no sensitivity in the tips (of my thumb and index finger).”
This is how Kvitova’s hand looked at a public statement shortly after the attack:
Zondra, who is currently serving a prison term for a different crime, has pleaded not guilty. He faces up to 12 years in prison.