Chekvatadze trying to forget terrifying robbery | sports | Hindustan Times
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Chekvatadze trying to forget terrifying robbery

sports Updated: Jan 15, 2008 14:49 IST

Russia's Anna Chakvetadze said on Tuesday she was struggling to forget being tied up by armed thieves during a terrifying robbery last month at her home just outside Moscow.

The tournament sixth seed said she wanted to concentrate on tennis and erase memories of the ordeal, when four hooded thieves burst into her house, pistol-whipped her father and stole about 250,000 dollars in cash, jewellery and other goods.

The 20-year-old was tied up during the robbery on December 18, receiving a minor finger injury and leaving her Australian Open preparation in tatters.

"I am trying not to think about it, I am trying to think about tennis and trying to forget this," she said.

"If I think about it more I won't be mentally ready to play."

The Russian said she and father Dzhamal had just returned home from an exhibition match and joined her mother and nine-year-old brother when the robbery occurred.

"I had just come back with my dad the same day from an exhibition, otherwise my mum and little brother would have been at home alone," she said.

"It could have been worse. We're all feeling much better (now)."

Chakvetadze admitted the trauma had shattered her sense of security.

"I felt before that I was safe in my house but I wasn't safe and maybe it's a good thing that we were all together," she said.

"Now we have everything, we have bodyguards in the house, we have alarms -- before it happened we just had security on the gate."

She was unsure whether her home was targeted because she was a top tennis player or whether she was simply a random victim of Moscow criminals.

"You can't control these things, it can happen to anyone," she said, admitting her family had considered moving away from the Russian capital since the robbery.

The event soured a breakthrough year for Chakvetadze, when she reached the US Open semis, the Australian and French Open quarters and broke into the top 10 for the first time to end the year ranked number six in the world.

"I didn't really have preparation for the new season," she said.

She was denied valuable match time Tuesday when her first round opponent, Germany's Andrea Petkovic, retired after wrenching her knee in the opening game of the match.

"I'm disappointed because I wanted to play a match," she said.

Chakvetadze said she not had a chance to adjust to Australian match conditions.

"I haven't played enough matches, I don't really have the confidence, because last year I had four or five matches before (the tournament), I got used to the wind and got used to the heat," she said.

She will play either China's Peng Shuai or Russian qualifier Alisa Kleyboniva in the second round.