Petra Kvitova described being able to move the fingers on her left hand as “the greatest Christmas present I could have wished for”. Kvitova, 26, was speaking publicly for the first time since being attacked by an intruder at her apartment in the Czech Republic on Tuesday.

Related: Petra Kvitova could return to tennis within six months following knife attack

Kvitova suffered potentially career-threatening injuries to her dominant hand, which was covered in a substantial bandage as she addressed the media in Prague after her release from hospital.

The two-times Wimbledon champion looked remarkably relaxed, smiling and laughing as she first read out a statement in Czech.

“I’m happy to tell you I’m feeling well,” she said, switching to English. “The medical staff, the police, my family and my team have all provided me with amazing support in this difficult situation.

“I want to thank each and every one of them for the important part they have played in the past four days. I have been overwhelmed by the flood of messages and love I have received from the tennis family, fans and the public – thank you.”

Kvitova revealed that movement had returned to her fingers during a session with her doctor on Thursday morning.

The world No11 needed surgery lasting nearly four hours after tendons in all four of her fingers and her thumb were damaged along with two nerves.

The intruder gained access to her apartment in Prostejov by posing as a utilities man before pulling out a knife and putting it to Kvitova’s throat. The injuries occurred as she pulled the knife away.

An identikit photo of Kvitova’s attacker was released by the police on Thursday. The man remains at large.

The popular Czech has been told she will not be able to hold a racket for three months, and she is not expected to return to the court for six months.

“While what happened to me was very scary, I do not see myself as a victim,” she said. “I do not feel sorry for myself and I will not look backwards. I will use all my energy to focus on my recovery and I will do everything I can to return to the sport I love as soon as possible.

“I am now looking forward to spending time with my family and I ask for privacy and peace as I start my journey towards a return to the tennis court.”

This article was written by Press Association, for The Guardian on Friday 23rd December 2016 14.17 Europe/London

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