Courage and belief mark Kvitova's return

BELIEF: Petra Kvitova made a winning grand slam return after being stabbed in the hand last December.
BELIEF: Petra Kvitova made a winning grand slam return after being stabbed in the hand last December. CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

IT wasn't Petra Kvitova's finest grand slam display but it was arguably the most important of the enigmatic Czech star's career.

Back in action for the first time since being stabbed by an intruder in her own apartment in December, the dual Wimbledon champion exulted in a 6-3 6-2 victory over outclassed American Julia Boserup.

After being told there was a chance wounds to all five fingers on her left hand - the baseliner's racquet hand - could end her career, Kvitova was ecstatic post-match.

With light rain falling, Kvitova tearfully buried her face in her hands before being interviewed on court by fellow Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli.

Turning to her family and coaching staff, all of them wearing black T-shirts bearing the words "courage and belief”, Kvitova said her form was irrelevant.

"I'm glad how I played today. It doesn't really matter how I played. I won before,” she said, referring to her recovery.

"It's a pleasure to be here. I'm really glad we made this decision to play here.

"Thank you very much, guys, I love you. You helped me through this difficult time.

"Courage was everything I needed to come back and play here.”

Formerly ranked No.2 in the world, Kvitova studied communications and media during her lay-off from tennis, determined to have a fall-back career if her rehabilitation failed.

She can forget about vocational change and, at 27, Kvitova has plenty of time yet to add further lustre to an already distinguished career.

In the short term, she could prove a formidable obstacle for leading Australian hope Sam Stosur because they are projected to clash in the third round.

In a trademark performance, Kvitova thumped 31 winners and nine aces, but made 20 unforced errors and five nervy double faults.

Topics:  french open petra kvitova

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