Tennis star gives 'graphic testimony' as she recounts savage knife attack in her home
Two-time Grand Slam champion Petra Kvitova has given a chilling testimony describing an attack at her Czech home in 2016.
Speaking in court, the professional tennis player claimed she had grabbed the blade of a male intruder's knife and forced it away from her neck, leaving blood "everywhere".
Kvitova suffered damage to ligaments and tendons in her playing - left - hand while fighting off the intruder and took a five-month break from the game to recover.
Communicating via video-link to avoid being in the same room as suspect 33-year-old Radim Zondra, who denies the allegations, Kvitova said she answered the door in December 2016 to find a man claiming he was there to inspect her boiler.
The 28-year-old said she decided to let him in as she was expecting a doping test, but things turned ugly when he was inspecting the hot water.
"He asked me to turn on the hot water tap and at that moment I had a knife against my neck," she said. "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."
She tried to reach her phone on the floor, but the attacker pushed it away. Kvitova then told him she needed to go to the hospital and asked if he wanted money, offering 10,000 Czech crowns ($440).
She said: "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."
Zondra faces 12 years in prison if convicted; he is currently serving another prison sentence for a separate offence. His colleagues insisted in court that he was at work at the time of the Kvitova incident.
The tennis player made no public statement after giving her testimony, but her spokesman said she was pleased to put it behind her.
Kvitova - who was a finalist in the Australian Open - has previously spoken out about the terrifying ordeal, claiming it took a while to trust people, especially men, after.
"It wasn't only physically but mentally very tough," she said of her recovery. "It took me really a while to believe the people around me again and especially men, for sure."
She added: "Those three months were very, very tough. 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. To be honest, I think not very many people believed that I can do that again, to stand on the court and play tennis and play on this level."
The two-time Wimbledon winner also opened up about her meeting last summer with retired professional tennis player Monica Seles, admitting that it was "nice" to talk to someone who had been through a similar thing.
Seles was stabbed on court by a spectator during a 1993 tournament in Hamburg and was out of the game for more than two years.
"Actually, she was the one who wanted to meet me, so it was just great and a big honour," said Kvitova. "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 same things and thoughts and everything."