(November 21, 2013) The WTA has named Alisa Kleybanova Comeback Player Of The Year and Simona Halep as Most Improved Player Of The Year.
Alisa Kleybanova overcame Hodgkin’s lymphoma to make it back to the tour. The Russian had broken into the top 20 in 2011 and two months after missing tournament due to illness she announced on her birthday on July 15, 2011, her 22nd birthday, she announced that shehad been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“I know things are always going to be up and down. I’m not expecting to win everything and come back to the Top 20 so quickly. But I’m ready for the journey,” Kleybanova said during the Fed Cup final. “I’m really happy to be back. I’ve been through enough tough things already. I’m feeling great physically now, I know what I need to work on, and I got my ranking up pretty quickly already this year.
“I just have to stay positive about things, have a nice off-season, train hard, stay healthy, stay away from injuries, and just have a good preparation over the next weeks to get ready for the new season.
“And after that, I hope to play the 2014 season from the first month to the last month.”
After Serena Williams, 22-year-old Simona Halep won the most tournaments in 2013 – six. She was a former No. 1 junior player.
The Romanian went 43-8 in her last tournaments of the year, winning her first six WTA titles at Nürnberg, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Budapest, New Haven, Moscow and Sofia, and finishing No.11 for 2013.
“Hopefully I can play next year like I played this year and do well in Australia,” Halep said after winning the Tournament of Champions event in Sofia.
“But I don’t want to make any plans. I won a lot of titles this season, I played really well and it’s not going to be easy next season. I just want to enjoy my time on the WTA tour and to feel the pleasure in every moment on the court.”