Alisa Kleybanova says she will bring a whole new approach to her tennis career when she returns to tournament action on Tuesday after a 10-month battle with cancer.
The Russian was in the top 20 and tipped to rise higher in the game before she was diagnosed with stage two Hodgkins lymphoma after the Italian Open last May. After undergoing chemotherapy in Italy, the 22-year-old is now ready to restart her career as a wild card at the Sony Ericsson, where she faces Sweden's Johanna Larsson in the first round.
“I don't want to think about rankings, I just want to be on the court and feel good. I just want to be myself,” she told reporters. “I have a huge motivation to just live at 100 per cent, every day of my life.”
Kleybanova, who has won twice on the WTA tour, said she had been suffering excessive fatigue and flu-like symptoms for some time before medical tests produced the shocking news. “Something was going on because I kept getting sick but then I always got over it and I was playing tournaments and feeling pretty good,” she said.
“On one side it was a shock but the other hand I knew there had to be reason why I wasn't right,” she added.
Kleybanova switched off from the game completely during her treatment in Italy.
Sania moves ahead Miami: Sania Mirza moved to second and final round of the qualifying event of the Sony Ericsson Open, a WTA Premier event, with a straight set victory over 18th seed Irina Falconi.
Sania faced stiff resistance from the American in the first set before pulling of a 7-6 (4) 6-0 win.
She broke the world number 100 thrice each in both the sets.
She will not fight it out with American 10th seed and world number 90 Sloan Stephens for a place in the main draw of the elite event. Twelve berths are available from the event.