Tuesday, 6 March 2012
Former champ and cancer victim Alisa will be back
FORMER champion Alisa Kleybanova, who was diagnosed with cancer last year, will most likely return to Kuala Lumpur for next year's BMW Malaysian Open.
The former World No 20 has started playing full-time and is due to return to action at the upcoming Miami WTA tournament, the Russian player said on Thursday.
The 22-year-old was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphona last May and withdrew from the season's remaining tournaments to undergo treatment.
But with her treatment judged to be a success, Alisa will resume her playing career with a wild card into the main draw at Miami.
"I finished my treatment in December and a couple of weeks ago I did my last tests in Italy. The treatment was successful, my doctors are happy with my health and I'm feeling great," Alisa wrote on her WTA blog.
"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."
Alisa, who turned professional in 2003, won her first career title in the inaugural Malaysian Open two years ago by overcoming now-retired compatriot Elena Dementieva 6-3, 6-2 in the final.
However, Alisa, who grew up in Moscow, fell in the second round in Kuala Lumpur last year.
"More than anything, I've missed the competition. For me tennis is not just going on 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."
Carbon Worldwide representative Melvin Chia said Alisa will definitely add glitter to the tournament next year.
"Of course, we would like a former champion to return. However, it is too early to say anything about our plans for next year," said Melvin.