Russian tennis hopeful diagnosed with cancer

Rising tennis star Alisa Kleybanova has chosen her 22nd birthday to reveal that she has Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

­“It’s not an easy time for me right now,” Kleybanova’s entry on WTA’s official website said. “I have Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer. I’m having treatment in Italy and it’s going well, but it takes lots of patience and time, and I need to be really strong and positive to go through this. I still have a few more months of treatment to go. But the good news is if I feel well after I’m done with everything, there’s a chance that I’ll be able to play tennis again. There is nothing for sure, but the chance is a big hope for me and it helps me to stay positive and focus on my healing every single day! I really miss playing – I miss seeing fans and friends around the world, I miss hitting the ball, I miss everything. Tennis has been my life for the last 15 years.”

The World No. 28 has been out of action since May, missing both the French Open and Wimbledon.

“I am a strong person. I’ve shown it before. Obviously this is different than anything I’ve ever experienced, but after this is over I’m sure my life will be even better than ever before. This is the toughest time of my life till now, and I hope it always remains the toughest time of my life. I’m sure I’ll be able to overcome this – it’s just a matter of patience and time and I believe I have enough.”

Alisa is currently undergoing treatment in hospital in the Italian city of Perugia.

“Of course, even though I’m in treatment, I hope I’ll have a fun birthday today. I’m really happy I have my family, my best friends and all the most important people with me here today. They’re here every day, week and month helping me with everything and giving me all their support,” the statement concluded.

Kleybanova has so far won two WTA Tour singles titles, with her best performances in Grand Slams being fourth round exits at Wimbledon and the Australian Open.

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