HAND WEAK, KVITOVA STILL FAVORED
Petra Kvitova still has not regained full strength in her left hand, the one she uses to swing a tennis racket so well that she won Wimbledon twice — and the one that was stabbed by an intruder at her home in the Czech Republic late last year.
Just seven months after that attack, Kvitova somehow carries the status of the closest thing to a favorite at the All England Club, where play in the grass-court Grand Slam tournament begins Monday.
Not that she’s all that concerned, understandably, with others’ thoughts about whether she can add to the trophies she clutched at Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014 .
“I don’t see it like that,” Kvitova said in an email to The Associated Press.
“I am just happy to be back on the court and that’s it,” she said. “I will be focusing on myself and not thinking any further than my first match.”
Simply competing these days is an accomplishment in itself for someone who initially was told there was a possibility it might never happen again. All five fingers on her left hand were injured in the late December knifing, and she needed surgery.
The 27-year-old Kvitova, who has been ranked as high as No. 2 and is seeded 11th at Wimbledon, only began practicing a couple of weeks before the French Open started in May. She made a last-minute decision to enter the clay-court major and wound up winning her opening match, then losing her next.
In her comeback’s second tournament, last week on grass at Birmingham, England, Kvitova earned the title, beating Ashleigh Barty 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the final with the help of 13 aces.