The 27-year-old two-time Wimbledon champion defied expectations in returning to competition despite suffering serious wounds to her playing left hand as she fought off a knife-wielding intruder at her home in the eastern Czech town of Prostejov in December 2016.
However, within months she had not only made a comeback but also won a title — the pre-Wimbledon tune-up event in Birmingham — and rounded off the Grand Slams with a quarter-final appearance in the US Open.
“Playing on the grass at Wimbledon (where she reached the second round) and getting a good result in the US Open was very important for me mentally, and for my confidence,” Kvitova told The Guardian newspaper.
“This year has been a rollercoaster. The beginning wasn’t very nice, so I’m really glad that it’s over. Now I can look at everything positively again.”
Kvitova, who reached a career high ranking of second in the world in December 2011, says she shrugged aside fears she would never play again.
“I did hear the rumours that I would never ever play again but I thought: ‘I will show them’,” said Kvitova, who has been playing since she was four.
“I was like: ‘Why are they saying this?’ It was very painful for me, it felt like they didn’t believe me.
“The week after surgery I asked my doctor: ‘Do you think I could play in Wimbledon this year?’ He didn’t answer for a while and then he said: ‘We are going to work on it and blah, blah, blah.’ I understood then that it wasn’t going to be easy.”
Kvitova, who has 20 titles to her credit, admits her hand is still not what it was.
“It will probably take more than a year to get full movement back, I’m not sure,” said Kvitova, who is presently ranked 29 in the world.
“For tennis and for life, it’s good.
“I am happy that (throughout the recovery) I was always looking forward to the better tomorrows.”
— Petra Kvitova (@Petra_Kvitova) December 5, 2017
Kvitova, who was told last month police had shelved the investigation as they had hit a dead end in identifying her assailant, says she has grown to love her ‘new hand’.
“I have started to live with my new hand,” said Kvitova, who will kick off 2018 in the WTA tournament in Brisbane, Australia.
“I’ve started to try to like it, to love it and that’s how I am going to take it. It’s my hand and I am just happy that I have all of my fingers.”
Ajla Tomljanovic admits it's "the worst feeling" having to retire from a final but the Croatian still managed to give a classy runner-up speech, paying tribute to Belinda Bencic, who defeated her to claim the Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge title in Dubai on Saturday.
Tomljanovic retired while down 4-6 in the Dubai final due to a groin injury she picked up at the end of her semi-final the previous day.
"I just felt my groin in the previous match, like two points before the finish," the 24-year-old told Sport360.
"It was a sharp pain. I thought today, sleeping through the night and kind of letting it recover it would be okay but it just kept getting worse the longer it was going on.
"And yeah, against a player like Belinda you have to be fully ready to run and play and when you’re kind of thinking about, that you’re hurting and stuff, it’s tough to play. I hate retiring, even more in the finals, it’s probably the worst feeling but it is what it is."
Belinda Bencic will spend Christmas on a plane from the UAE to Australia but the Swiss youngster is not complaining, especially after she wrapped up her 2017 season with a title victory at the $100k Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge in Dubai on Saturday.
Bencic finished the year by claiming a 15th consecutive match win and a third title in a row by defeating Croatian Ajla Tomljanovic, who retired with a groin injury while down 4-6 in their final on Saturday afternoon.
“Definitely not the way I wanted to win. I’m very sad for Ajla but hopefully it’s really nothing too bad and just precautionary,” said the 20-year-old Bencic, who came back from wrist surgery in September and has won four trophies since.
“I won the tournament so I’m very happy about it, and obviously to finish the year with a win is great, that’s the first time I think I’ve done it so it feels good. I’m playing really good now so I’m happy about it.”
In the Dubai final, Bencic was the first to save break points in the match but inched ahead 4-3 by breaking the Tomljanovic serve. The Croatian then took an off-court medical timeout to treat a groin problem and broke back for 4-all upon her return. But Tomljanovic, clearly hampered in her movement, was broken at love the following game and she was forced to retire after dropping the opening set.