EASTBOURNE, England -- Karolina Muchova can't wait to get back to her preternatural talent for making the best players on the Hologic WTA Tour uncomfortable. 

Muchova set to return at Eastbourne after 10-month injury absence

Muchova joined the WTA Insider Podcast ahead of her return to discuss the physical and mental toll of her injury break. Always a fan favorite for her incredible shot-making and courtcraft, Muchova is eager to reassert herself on tour.  

"It's been a while and I know it's tough to just jump on it and be back," Muchova said. "I can't expect myself to have the level that I had last year. I wish, but I think I'll need a few matches and some time to get on it again. But now practicing a few days with others, it was not so bad. I could keep up. It was not like I was losing everything.

"I hope I'll bring the good tennis again and that I can, yeah, make some mess at the top again." 

Listen to the full conversation on the newest episode of the WTA Insider Podcast below:

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The 27-year-old Czech is set to play her first match in 10 months this week at the Rothesay International. After finishing her 2023 season with a career-high ranking of No.8 on the PIF WTA Rankings, Muchova has been forced to watch as the tour played on without her exciting all-court tennis. 

In February, Muchova underwent surgery to repair a tendon in her right wrist. The surgery and rehabilitation have been -- knock on wood -- a resounding success.

"At the start, of course, I was a little bit -- well, maybe more than a little bit -- frustrated," Muchova said. "After such a great season, I felt great on the court. I wanted to follow up, but then there was the stop. 

"Once I knew there's a surgery, there's some time ahead of me that I'll have off, I just tried to -- and I did well in that I think -- accept it and just focus on the steps ahead and what I could do." 

Karolina Muchova being an all-court menace for four minutes

Muchova revealed the estimated timeline for her return was in August. But her hard work during the rehabilitation process paid off and she got the green light from her surgeon for an early return. Now, instead of gunning for the hard courts, she will play Wimbledon, where she is a two-time quarterfinalist, and represent the Czech Republic at the Paris 2024 Olympics. 

Muchova's eyes widened when she reflected on how far she's come in such a short amount of time. 

"Once I was able to put my hand out of the wrap, I was still not moving with it," she said. "It was crazy. At that moment, I'm like, 'OK, I don't think I'll ever hold a racquet. I don't know if I'll ever hold a fork and eat.' It was really, really weak."

Muchova will play her first match against Elina Avanesyan on Tuesday in Eastbourne. While she cautioned against any expectation that she'll play at the level that pushed Iga Swiatek to three sets in the 2023 French Open final, or lifted her to her first WTA 1000 final in Cincinnati, or the US Open semifinal, Muchova will be enjoying every minute.

"That might sound a little bit like a cliche, but really just to be able to play and go on the court and the people and the match," Muchova said. "I'm very competitive. So I'm really looking forward to that adrenaline again."