December 20th, 2016. The off-season is reaching its end, as the Australian Open is around the corner and there are also the first competitive events starting in less than ten days. However, as the excitement increases day after day, the tennis world is shaken. Petra Kvitova is injured. But not a common injury.
There are only three players who won Wimbledon at least twice since 2000. They are Venus Williams, Serena Williams and… Petra Kvitova. The 27-year-old Czech was attacked, at home. A man entered the house under the guise of checking a utility meter, but soon the situation got worse. Kvitova managed to defend herself, despite being cut in her playing hand.
There are no boundaries in tennis when it comes to having a player out of play. Even less when the player is Petra Kvitova. There were no predictions regarding the recovering time, not even if it was possible to recover and compete at the highest level.
However, Kvitova was determined. The former world number two said again and again she would be back, her vision had changed and she would be working harder than ever to be back on court.
Twitter exploded. Every player was touched. Everyone wanted to have Kvitova back, from fans to tournaments, from opponents to journalists.
Following her words, Kvitova did not withdraw from the French Open and Wimbledon, despite the low chances of being able to play. Doctors said she should expect at least a 6-month stop, but… who knows?
Dedication pays off. Commitment pays off. Hard work pays off. And Petra Kvitova was back. It was not announced. Not even certain. Roland Garros had it draw out a couple of days before its start and the Czech was there, as seed number fifteen, to play Julia Boserup.
The order of play was out as well, and Kvitova would be playing in Day 1, the first match at the Philippe Chatrier, the main court of the French Open. Obviously, that was the match of the day.
“I can’t feel two of my fingers”. No one said it would be easy, but it was possible. Kvitova won and Boserup hugged her. Marion Bartoli, before starting the post-match interview, hugged her. Everyone clapped. Not because Kvitova defeated a not so talented Boserup, but because she overcame herself. Through courage and belief. “Pojd”. Come on.
Kvitova’s run at the French Open ended in round two, being defeated by Mattek-Sands, in two tiebreaks. But it felt like a win. The goal was to comeback. To play. And it was achieved.
There are still a lot of scars from this uncommon injury, but one thing is guaranteed: Petra Kvitova is enjoying more than ever the time on court. And fans too. The Czech is scheduled to play the entire grass court season, as long as she keeps painless when playing.
There is no doubt every match Kvitova plays in 2017, as well as in the following years, will be a special match. For Kvitova, for the opponent, for everyone. Winning or losing, the Czech will be admired. Because someone tried to rob what meant everything for her, but she refused to let it go.