New York - Petra Kvitova admitted on Tuesday that she might never be a Grand Slam champion again after losing a three-set thriller to Venus Williams at the US Open.
The 27-year-old Czech was defeated 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/2) by the American veteran in the quarter-finals.
It was just Kvitova's eighth tournament back following a five-month absence to recover from potentially career-ending injuries to her left playing hand sustained in fighting off a knife-wielding burglar at her Czech home in December.
"I'm glad that I am still able to compete on the high level against the top players," said Kvitova, the 2011 and 2014 Wimbledon champion.
"I'm not sure about the titles of the Grand Slams. Of course that's why I'm playing tennis, and that's why I wanted to be back and playing, and is a big motivation.
"But I'm still on the earth, and I know it's still a lot of work. This was a quarter-final, but I know how tough it is to get a title for a Grand Slam. It was pretty close but pretty far, as well."
Tuesday's performance was vintage Kvitova - 35 winners canceled out by 45 unforced errors.
Nine double faults, one of which handed back a break when she led 3-1 in the decider, rubbed shoulders with saving eight of 11 break points in an impressive display of defense.
Kvitova returned to the tour in May at the French Open, where she made the second round while she also reached the same stage at Wimbledon.
A 20th career title at Birmingham was sandwiched in between, but the 14th-ranked Kvitova knows there is plenty of work ahead to get her career back on track.
"Overall, I think it's amazing. I didn't really think that I can come so far," she said.
"Was great to win in Birmingham, but I think put a little bit of pressure on me, and I just wanted to play better and better, which I wasn't pretty ready for that.
"I'm just glad that I could show it here, that there is a way to play well again. So from my side, in a couple of days I hope that I will say, Good job. But not just now."
As far as who the US Open champion may be on Saturday, Kvitova is backing 37-year-old Williams to capture a third title in New York, 16 years after her second and most recent.
"She's a champion. I think she can win it - I hope so."