Kvitova happy to focus on tennis with Wimbledon approaching


Petra Kvitova is glad to be able to concentrate all her efforts on tennis after the intense media glare following her return from a knife attack.

The Czech was stabbed by an intruder in her home in December last year, sustaining injuries to her left hand which required surgery.

She made her comeback at the French Open last month, reaching the second round, and enjoyed a triumphant return to the grass on Tuesday by seeing off Tereza Smitkova 6-2 6-3 in the opening round of the Aegon Classic.

Although Kvitova needed five match points to wrap up the victory against the lucky loser and advance, the two-time Wimbledon champion was relieved to be able to focus on her game without the distractions her return at Roland Garros provided before she heads to SW19 next month.

"It feels different," said Kvitova, exactly six months on from the attack. "I'm happy that I have everything done with the media and the pressure and everything with the comeback in Paris.

"So I'm glad that now I can focus on tennis, especially on the grass. And that's important that I am back in reality and just playing the matches.

"I think this first match on the grass was pretty good. I think that I served well and I played good shots from the baseline.

"I think that she served very well, especially first serve. I had good timing on the court today and I'm happy with the way I played.

"We are still worried about the hand, so we are not practising that much. We still have days off to work on my hand and it was very good today. So I'm happy with that the most."

Sixth seed Garbine Muguruza avoided an upset against Russian qualifier Elizaveta Kulichkova, ensuring her grass-court campaign did not start with a shock defeat.

The Spaniard was taken to three sets and wasted a chance to serve out the match before booking her place in the second round with a crucial break earning a hard-fought 6-3 3-6 6-4 win.

Meanwhile, Camila Giorgi, Johanna Konta, Katerina Siniakova, Ashleigh Barty, Daria Gavrilova, Lucie Safarova, Coco Vandeweghe, Kristina Mladenovic, Shuai Zhang and Alison Riske were Tuesday's other first-round winners.