'I wasn’t confident to be alone': Kvitova opens up on stabbing hell after reaching Aus Open final
Australian Open finalist Petra Kvitova is on the verge of an incredible comeback after revealing her personal struggle to recover from an attack by a home intruder that left her with a stab wound on her racket hand.
The assault on Kvitova took place back in 2016, as an intruder entered her home and attacked the tennis star, leaving her physically injured and mentally scarred from the incident.
And ahead of her Australian Open final match with Naomi Osaka in Melbourne on Saturday, Kvitova opened up on the mental issues she has had to cope with following the attack three years ago.
"It wasn’t really a nice time to be dealing with everything," said the Czech star during a media scrum in Melbourne.
"It took me really a while to believe the people around me again and especially men, for sure.
"So I wasn’t pretty confident to be alone somewhere.
"I do remember the first time I was alone in the locker room in Prague in the club, and I came to my team and said, 'Well, it was the first time I was alone there, and, yeah, it was a good one today that I really felt okay.'
"Those three months were very, very tough... so I think that kind of the mental side was there, and I really needed to be strong and not really think too negatively about it, but of course those thoughts were there, as well.
"Yeah, it’s been a long journey."
The two-time Wimbledon champion also revealed she received support from Monica Seles, the former Grand Slam star who was stabbed on court by a crazed fan during a match in 1993.
Seles took two years out to fully recover before coming back and winning the 1996 Australian Open.
Kvitova revealed that Seles reached out to her last year to offer her support and assistance, calling their meeting a "big honor."Also on rt.com ‘The karma they deserve’: Fans react as Osaka books Australian Open final spot, Serena absent
"Actually, she was the one who wanted to meet me, so it was just great," she said.
"I know that it affected her career a lot, especially (that) it happened on the court, so it's a bit different.
"But it was such a nice feeling to meet someone who kind of went through the same things and thoughts and everything."
Kvitova will face Osaka in Saturday's final in Melbourne looking to secure her first Grand Slam tournament win since the stabbing incident - and her first Grand Slam title away from the grass courts of Wimbledon.
She is in outstanding form, unbeaten in her last 11 matches and, following her semi-final victory over America's Danielle Collins, stands just one win away from completing an incredible comeback from stab victim to Grand Slam champion.
"To be honest, I think not very many people believe that I can do that again, to stand on the court and play tennis and kind of play on this level," she admitted.