THE immediate playing career of two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova remains uncertain after she was attacked by a knife-wielding intruder at her home in the Czech Republic.
The world No.11 underwent almost four hours of surgery on tendons and nerves in her left hand, her playing hand, having damaged her fingers as she fought off the attacker.
One of the doctors who performed the operation, Radek Kebrle, told a news conference that Kvitova would not be ready for tournaments until at least the middle of next year.
"She is a young athlete, healthy ... but it still is a relatively massive injury,” he said.
Kvitova's publicist, Katie Spellman, described that time frame as "the best-case scenario” but said the 26-year-old was "ready to do everything she can to get back competing at the highest level”.
The left-hander has been ranked as high as No.2 in the world, in 2011, after winning the first of her two Wimbledon titles.
The Women's Tennis Association also suggested Kvitova's future was uncertain.
"It's unclear if or when Kvitova will be back on the court, and the start of 2017 won't be the same without her unique power and competitive spirit,” the WTA said on its website.
Kvitova tweeted after the attack: "In my attempt to defend myself, I was badly injured on my left hand. I am shaken, but fortunate to be alive.”
Police are yet to arrest Kvitova's attacker, who robbed her of about $250, Czech media has reported.