Alisa this week gave an exclusive interview to the Chempionat.com sports website. The interview focuses on her return to tennis and all the difficulties she faced.
The following is a translated extract.
Q: Alisa, first of all I'd like to congratulate you on returning to action. Tell us something more about your first tournament in Miami.
A: I did very well. Was glad to return to tennis. The most important thing for me was to compete again, play matches, just hit balls. All my friends supported me along the way. It was a very exciting event for me.
Q: Right after you finished playing, did you stay a bit longer in the US or rather you flew back to Italy?
A: Originally I planned to go to Charleston, but got a shoulder problem and decided to withdraw. This is when I decided to fly back to Italy. No need to hurry. I decided no to play the full schedule, tournament after tournament, as I used to. Physically I'm still unable to play matches week after week. I'm happy with my Miami showing and my team is happy. Everything is going smoothly. Nevertheless, it's too early to say that I'm fully prepared to return to the Tour.
Q: Aren't you afraid that, no matter how many titles you win, people will also label you as "the girl who overcame cancer"?
A: Frankly speaking, I don't care how I will be labeled. The most important is that I've recovered and can play tennis and do things I love doing. Everything else is of minor importance. Now I'm focused on staying healthy and spending time with my close friends, my team and my coach. We are always together and support each other. You know, in the world nowadays, somebody says one thing, then somebdy else says another thing, and so on. You cannot control it and this is why it's better not to pay attention to what's happening around.
Q: Let's go back to the day when you got diagnosed 11 months ago. Can you remember what you felt at that moment? What were your thoughts?
A: I had lots of thoughts, but was not worried about the fact that I would not be able to play tennis. My first thought was: "Oh, what a nightmare! I will not be able to play tennis!" When you get diagnosed, you must do what you can to survive. And this is what I did.
Q: You had lots of free time. How did you amuse yourself?
A: The summer was very hot and I couldn't stay for long in the sun. So I cannot say I had a lot of summer fun. I had a relaxing time - watching movies, reading books, chatting with friends.
Q: It turns out that Alisa Kleybanova is a complete optimist in life. Is it true?
A: Yes, of course! You can say so. However, I'd like to add that without my family's support, especially my grandmother, dad, my friends, my team and my coach, I wouldn't have coped with this. They helped me with everything. My boyfriend was also a great support for me. No matter how optimistic you are, if you are left alone with your problems, it's extremely difficult to cope with them.
To be continued.
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