Kleybanova victorious in first match after comeback

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“For everyone else it’s just the first round, but for me it’s very emotional. I’ll always remember it – it will always be the first match of my comeback.”

After ten months of Hodgkin’s lymphoma treatment, healthy Alisa Kleybanova celebrated a victorious return to tennis after a 2-6 6-3 6-2 win over world No.64 Johanna Larsson in the first round of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. Motivated and emotional Kleybanova enjoyed every point on the court, even in the set she lost.

The Russian missed the excitement of tennis competition a lot and now she percieves her job from a different perspective, she wants to stay positive and enjoy the moment regardless of the score. That attitude helped her move ahead after losing the first set against Larsson.

Compatriot Maria Kirilenko will be Kleybanova’s opponent in the second round.

Congratulations, Alisa! Take it one match at a time and stay healthy and smiling! (photo: John Bolan)


  1. This is inspiring. Here are the words of Alisa’s coach: ”I never saw her cry, not once, but I could see she was in much pain from the treatments. I would go see her, and she would be fine, but I was then not. I was not feeling as strong as she was because I saw how she looked. She was weak on the outside, but strong on the inside. Always.”

  2. Great news indeed. She looks more fit too I think?
    I’ve thought in the past that she’s carried around just a little tiny bit too much weight for a top tennis player (only a couple of pounds too much), and I felt this affected her fitness in longer/tougher matches.
    Hoping for all the best for her this season. 😀

  3. I agree Ethan that she looks much fitter. I don’t think she will win her match tomorrow against Kirilenko but I think she will hopefully keep improving over the coming months…


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