Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova will not play tennis for at least three months after surgery following a knife attack at her home.
Kvitova, 26, said she was “fortunate to be alive” following a “burglary” incident on Tuesday when she struggled with an intruder.
Surgeons spent almost four hours repairing tendons and nerves on her left hand – her playing hand.
Her spokesman said that considering the damage, “the surgery went well”.
“The injury is serious, but the surgeon says Petra is young and healthy and there is no reason why she can’t resume tennis,” publicist Karel Tejkal told the AFP news agency.
According to her manager Katie Spellman, Kvitova will wear a cast for six to eight weeks and cannot bear weight on the injured hand for at least three months.
That rules her out of the Australian Open next month, which is the first Grand Slam tournament of the 2017 tennis season.
It is understood she allowed someone posing as a utilities man access to her apartment in Prostejov, Czech Republic, and while defending herself in a struggle, suffered the injuries to her hand. The intruder is believed to have then run away and is being sought by police.
Earlier on Tuesday, Kvitova said she was “shaken”, adding the injury was “severe” but that she would “fight this”.
Tejkal added: “It was a random crime, nobody was going to attack or rob her as Petra Kvitova.”
Kvitova is ranked 11 in the world and has won a career total of 19 titles, including Grand Slam victories at Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014.
“Thank you for all your heart-warming messages.
“As you may have already heard, today I was attacked in my apartment by an individual with a knife. In my attempt to defend myself, I was badly injured on my left hand.
“I am shaken, but fortunate to be alive. The injury is severe and I will need to see specialists, but if you know anything about me I am strong and I will fight this. Thank you all again for your love and support and now I would appreciate some privacy while I focus on my recovery.”
Former champion was on the way back
Kvitova had announced earlier on Tuesday that a foot injury forced her to withdraw from January’s Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia.
She had only returned from pre-season training in Lanzarote last week, despite her right foot requiring a protective boot for much of the time.
It meant her hopes of playing in the first Grand Slam of the season were already doubtful, with the Australian Open getting under way on 16 January.
Kvitova had finished the 2016 season strongly, picking up titles in Wuhan and Zuhai, as well as winning the Women’s Tennis Association’s annual sportsmanship award, for the fourth year in succession.
- Turned professional in 2006, aged 16
- First Wimbledon appearance as a junior in 2007, reaching the last 16
- First career title in 2009 – the Hobart International, Australia
- Now has 19 titles with career prize money totalling more than £18.4m
- Reached a career-high of world number two in October 2011, behind Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki
- Won a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics, losing her semi-final to eventual gold medallist Monica Puig