Kvitova testifies in trial of knife attacker: 'There was blood everywhere'

Hannah Wilks in Tennis News 6 Feb 2019
  • Petra Kvitova has testified during the trial of a man accused of being her attacker
  • Kvitova described grabbing blade of the knife held to her neck during a botched robbery in 2016
Petra Kvitova leaves the court after testifying (Vaclav Salek/AP)

Petra Kvitova gives testimony in the trial of knife attacker.

World no. 2 Petra Kvitova has testified in the trial of a man accused of being the burglar who held a knife to her throat during a botched robbery in 2016, leaving the two-time Wimbledon champion with career-threatening wounds to her left hand.

Kvitova explained how she grabbed the blade of a knife held to her throat and forced it away from her neck, leaving blood 'everywhere'.

Kvitova, a finalist at the Australian Open less than two weeks ago, gave her testimony via video link while sitting in a separate room at the Brno regional courthouse to avoid being in the same room as her attacker.

The accused is 33-year-old Radim Zondra, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a separate offense. He could face 12 years in prison if convicted. His colleagues have claimed in court that he was at work at the time of the attack in December 2016.

Kvitova identified Zondra from photos provided by the police. 'I knew it was him the moment I saw him [in the pictures]. I remembered his eyes mainly,' she said.

The Czech website www.idnes.cz quotes Kvitova explaining how the accused, posing as a workman, rang her doorbell at 8.30am and claimed to have come to inspect the hot water system in the flat. Kvitova, who was expecting a possible visit from doping control, let him in. He grabbed her from behind in the bathroom.

'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,' Kvitova said.

Kvitova described how she tried to reach for her mobile phone but the man pushed it away. The tennis star told him she needed to go to hospital and asked him if 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,' Kvitova said.

Kvitova said she felt no pain when the knife cut her hand, but started crying when she saw the blood while lying on the floor. 'I was screaming, of course, there was blood all over the place,' the AP quote her as saying.

'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],' she said.

Kvitova underwent surgery to repair tendons and ligaments in her left (playing) hand shortly afterwards and returned to competition five months later at the French Open in May 2017. Over the subsequent 18 months, Kvitova rebuilt her ranking, re-entering the top 10 in the spring of 2018 and winning five titles over the course of the season. In January 2019, she won 11 matches in a row, claiming the Apia International Sydney title and going on to make the final of the Australian Open - her first appearance in a Grand Slam final since Wimbledon in 2014. Kvitova saved three championship points in the second set to push the match to a decider, but ultimately lost in three sets to Naomi Osaka.



After the final, an emotional Kvitova said: 'It's hurting a lot today. I wanted to win and have the trophy. But I already won two years ago.'

'I've been through many, many things, not really great ones,' she continued. 'I didn't know if I was going to hold the racquet again. I'm holding it, so that's good. .... I wanted to be back on my greatest level probably as I played before. I knew it will be very, very difficult because my hand, it’s not 100% and never will be. It’s just how it is. I’m just trying to take maximum from the minimum.'

Kvitova did not speak to the media when leaving the courthouse but a spokesman said she was glad to put it all behind her.

The Czech star will not defend her title at the Qatar Total Open in Doha next week, but is scheduled to return to competition at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which begin on Sunday 17 February.


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Kvitova testifies in trial of knife attacker: 'There was blood everywhere'

World no. 2 Petra Kvitova has testified in the trial of a man accused of being the burglar who held a knife to her throat during a botched robbery in 2016, leaving the two-time Wimbledon champion with career-threatening wounds to her left hand

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