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From Monica Seles to Calum Davenport, how knife attacks cut sports careers

Knife attacks on sportspersons are nothing new. Tennis star Petra Kvitova is the recent in a list of sporting superstars at the receiving end. Tennis Grand Slam champion Monica Seles is also on this list

tennis Updated: Dec 20, 2016 20:53 IST
petra kvitova,monica seles,knife attack
Monica Seles of the USA in action against Iva Majoli of Croatia in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open at Flinders Park in Melbourne in January 1996. (Getty Images)

A knife-wielding intruder attacked two-time Wimbledon tennis champion Petra Kvitova in her apartment in the Czech Republic on Tuesday, with one media outlet reporting her playing arm had been injured.

Kvitova was assaulted in her home in the city of Prostejov, about 260 km southeast of Prague, media reported. A spokeswoman for the city hospital said she had been treated for a knife injury, without going into further detail.

“What has happened to me was not pleasant at all, but it is already behind me,” Kvitova said in the statement on Facebook.

“The main thing for me now is that the doctors will determine how my hand is doing. I trust them and I believe that it will end well,” Kvitova added.

In the wake of the attack on Kvitova, here is a list of other players who had come under similar attacks.

Monica Seles

No one can forget when Steffi Graf fan Guenter Parche, a 38-year-old unemployed tool maker, plunged a 23cm-long knife into Monica Seles’ back during a changeover in a tournament in Hamburg in April 1993. Not only did the attack beef up security at sporting events since the past two decades, but it changed the former world No. 1’s life forever.

June 1, 1996: Monica Seles of the USA against Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria, the first time they have played each other since Seles was stabbed in Germany in 1993 during the fourth round of the French Open at Roland Garros. ( Getty Images )

It shattered Monica Seles’ self confidence and though she tried making a comeback, could never scale the heights. She finally retired in 2008. What was Parche’s excuse? Seles had taken Graf’s ranking at the top the WTA chart.

Calum Davenport

The former West Ham defender was attacked by Worrell Whitehurst, the boyfriend of Davenport’s sister, causing him grievous bodily harm with intent in 2009. He was stabbed about eight times in the legs and lost 50 per cent of the blood from his body.

Calum Davenport of West Ham United celebrates scoring during the Premier League match between the Hammers and Blackburn Rovers at Upton Park on August 30, 2008 in London. ( Getty Images )

The attacker was jailed for six years. Some months prior to the attack, Davenport had ‘headbutted and bit’ his pregnant sister’s face because of her choice of a mixed-race boyfriend.

Quan Lei

The Dalian Shide club footballer and member of China’s Olympic team was seriously injured in a knife attack near his home by two unidentified assailants in 2006. Doctors said he was out of danger after eight hours of surgery. Apparently the two assailants had lain in wait for Lei to come back from training and attacked him the moment he was getting out of his car.

Brittney Griner

The American basketball superstar was cut on the elbow and a teammate was also attacked by a man wielding a knife in China in 2014.

Brittney Griner of the United States reacts at the Carioca Arena on Day 13 of the 2016 Olympic Games on August 18, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. ( Getty Images )

Griner was the victim of what was called a random attack as her Beijing Great Wall team was boarding a bus after practice. As the 203cm tall Griner was wearing a winter coat, the knife barely cut her skin and she didn’t require stitches.

Otavio and Abreu

Brazilian football referee Otavio Jordao da Silva Cantanhede had a bad day in office in 2013. He showed a red card to Josemir Santos Abreu in an amateur game he was refereeing but the player refused to leave the field and began to fight. In retaliation, Otavio drew a knife and repeatedly stabbed Abreu.

However, things went from bad to worse when Abreu died on way to the hospital and his friends and family took revenge. Otavio was first stoned, then decapitated and quartered before his head was put on a stake in the pitch.

First Published: Dec 20, 2016 19:41 IST