PARIS -- Petra Kvitova, whose remarkable comeback from wounds to her playing hand suffered in a knife attack two and a half years ago, withdrew from Roland Garros on Monday for a routine but still disappointing reason.
The sixth-seeded Czech, considered by many as a tournament favorite, said a sudden, sharp pain in her left forearm brought tears to her eyes while training Sunday. She immediately stopped hitting. Kvitova tweeted Monday that she had been experiencing pain in her forearm for a few weeks.
A subsequent MRI revealed a grade 2 muscle tear. The MRI results also were reviewed by Dr. Radek Kebrle, the surgeon who repaired her lacerated hand in December 2016.
"He said that I shouldn't really play,'' Kvitova told reporters Monday morning. "It can be much, much worse (if she continued to stress it) and I could be off for six weeks.''
Kvitova and her team quickly concluded that she needed to rest for two or three weeks and try to recover in time for the grass court season -- especially Wimbledon, where she won the championship in 2011 and 2014.
"So now it's shorter period of time to take time to heal it and do whatever I need to do,'' she said.
The injury is especially frustrating now, given that Kvitova has been in the vicinity of the No 1 ranking for months. Since her comeback from the traumatic home invasion -- an emotional match at Roland Garros exactly two years ago -- the 29-year-old lefty has stayed healthy and won more WTA tournaments than any other player.
Kvitova struggled to find that same level at Grand Slam events, up until this season's Australian Open, where she charged through the draw to the final before falling to Japan's Naomi Osaka in a three-set thriller.
"Probably my body said that I need some time off, so I need to listen to my body now,'' she said.
In order to overtake Osaka for the No. 1 ranking here, Kvitova, a 2012 French Open semifinalist, would have had to win the title and see Osaka knocked out before the semis.
Kvitova was rueful but calm as she explained her situation. She has faced far worse: the physical and psychological effects of being assaulted, arduous rehab on both fronts, and an extended law enforcement process after her attacker was finally arrested and tried.
This healing process should be much more straightforward. "I think that I already handle much more tougher things than just tear in my forearm,'' Kvitova said.