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US Open 2017 - Kvitova taking it one day at a time

By Myrtille Rambion   on   Friday 01 September 2017
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So impressive in New York so far, Petra Kvitova is delighted to be back to normal following the knife attack she suffered last December, which led to her having an operation on her left hand and kept her out of the game until this year’s French Open.

“Sometimes it’s fine, sometimes it hurts a bit more, but in general I feel fine.” Petra Kvitova is thinking positive at Flushing Meadows, just as she always does. It is in the Czech’s nature, after all, though it is a quality that is even more admirable after the knife attack she was subjected to at her home last December, which will always be an unfortunate before-and-after moment in her career. So violent was the attack that she underwent a four-hour operation on the tendons in her left hand, her playing hand. It still bears the scars of surgery and it still hurts, some days more than others, and depending on how tightly she grips her racquet, though the pain is not as bad as it once was. That said, Kvitova is still to recover feeling in her two of her fingers.

“Things are getting more normal though,” said the delighted world No14 after securing meaningful wins in the first two rounds at the US Open: 7-5, 7-5 against Jelena Jankovic in the first round and 6-1, 6-2 against Alize Cornet. A return to normality was what the two-time Grand Slam champion (Wimbledon 2011 and 2014) craved the most as she sought to recover during her five months away from the Tour. “Things like seeing other players, seeing coaches, being on the tennis court, practicing with other girls, that feels more normal than before, for sure,” said the Czech. “For me, warm-ups before the matches or matches are already normal, I have to say. But on the other hand, it’s still very special and I’m still very grateful for it.”

Match point: Kvitova wins in comeback

"It’s great to see her like that, so happy and smiling after such a traumatic time"

And not without good reason – the 27-year-old left-hander thought she would never play again. “Nobody thought she’d come back to tennis so quickly,” said Caroline Garcia of France, her opponent in the third round and one of her best friends on the circuit. “I don’t think even she did. I think she’s getting even more pleasure out of being here and that her wins mean even more to her. It’s great to see her like that, so happy and smiling after such a traumatic time.”

Sharing that opinion is Garcia’s compatriot Cornet, the former world No2’s second-round victim. Like many others in the locker room, the Nice-born player has as much admiration for Kvitova the person as Kvitova the player: “She’s practically unbeatable when she’s at her best. But she hasn’t played for a while and she can mess up sometimes, though that’s pretty rare. When you see what she’s been through, it really helps you to put everyday stuff and tennis results into perspective.” “Every day is different,” said Kvitova. “I feel as if every day is a new day.”

Portrait: Petra Kvitova
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