Kleybanova to Return at Sony Ericsson Open

Alisa Kleybanova of Russia celebrates her victory against Shahar Peer of Israel during their Madrid Open tennis match May 2, 2011. REUTERS/Juan Medina (SPAIN – Tags: SPORT TENNIS)



Alisa Kleybanova has been off the WTA tour since May 2011, when she was ranked at No. 28. On July 15, the day she turned 22 years of age, the Russian shared very sad news about her health. She had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer, with fortunately with a high rate of recovery after treatment.
At the time she said, “I am a strong person. I have shown it before. Obviously this is different than anything I have ever experienced, but after this is over my life will be even better than before.  I am sure I will be able to overcome this. It’s a matter of patience and time.”

The time has come for Kleybanova to get back playing competitive tennis again. Her career high was No. 20 in singles with two titles and in doubles – No. 10, with 5 titles. A strong baseliner, strong body, Kleybanova was never an easy opponent. What she has shown that her strong spirit carried her out not only through her matches but through this difficult time on her life.

Kleybanova  completed her treatment in December and recent tests showed she was ready to return to the court.  She posted a message on the WTA website. She thanked her medical team in italy, and wrote : “from the bottom of my Heart, thanks to my coach Lulian Vespan, my boyfriend, family and close friends. I will never forget it.”

And we will never forget you either Alisa. Welcome back. Patience and time, as she said, and being so wise at such young age, can help one overcome not only difficult matches but to live well.

Kleybanova restarts her tennis career next month as she has been awarded wildcard into the Sony Ericsson Open.

By Lucia Hoffman

Kleybanova’s message from the WTA site:

Hi to all my friends and fans!

It has been a long time since my last message… and now I really want to get back in touch with you and share all the great things and emotions I have!

I finished my treatments in December and a couple of weeks ago I did my last tests in Italy. The treatments were successful, my doctors are happy with my health and I’m feeling great!

I would like to thank the Hospital Gemelli in Rome (Prof. Giuseppe Leone, Dott. Stefan Hohaus and their Team), and the Hospital Silvestrini in Perugia (Prof. Brunangelo Falini, Dott. Flavio Falcinelli and their Team). From the bottom of my heart I want to thank my coach Iulian Vespan, my boyfriend Giacomo, my family and my close friends that were next to me all this time. I will never forget it…

I have started to train and right now I’m in Florida playing tennis again!!! It was physically really hard in the beginning, but it was so emotional that I didn’t want to get off the court :) This is just amazing, I’m working out every day now and enjoying it so much more than before!

More than anything, I’ve missed the competition. For me tennis is not just going on the court and hitting the ball – it’s testing yourself, seeing how good you are, trying new things, trying to improve, trying to win… For me the best part of tennis is the competition and I’m really looking forward to my comeback!

By the way, I just got confirmed my main draw wildcard into the Miami tournament, so I will see you guys really soon!!!

I don’t think I have ever been more excited :)))