Tennis Star Alisa Kleybanova Diagnosed with Lymphoma

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The No. 28-ranked tennis player in the world, Alisa Kleybanova, has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The Russian tennis star, who celebrated her 22nd birthday this past Friday, released a statement on the matter addressing her fans and supporters. In the message she spoke of her plans for both the immediate future, and long-term.

"It's my birthday today and I want to thank all of you for the wonderful messages. I haven't written anything for a long time about why I haven't been on tour, so that's why I'm writing this today," she said in a statement.

"It's not an easy time for me right now. I've been a bit unlucky with my health. I have Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a form of cancer.

"I've been having treatment in Italy and it has been going well, but it takes lots of patience and I've had to be really strong to get through this. The good news is after I do treatment for a few more months, if I feel well, there's a chance I'll be able to play tennis again.

"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.

"There are a few reasons I'm undergoing treatment in Italy. First, I have a training base and many close friends here, so it's like home," she said.

"Second, they have a really great hospital here that specializes in this problem; I've been going there since the problem started, so the doctors know me well. It's the best place for me to be - the surroundings help me stay strong.

"This is the toughest time in my life, and I hope it always stays the toughest time in my life. I'm sure I'll be able to overcome this - it's just a matter of patience and time. When this is over, everything will be even better than before.

"I won't be on tour for a little while, but I will see you all again soon."

The WTA, for their part, expressed their complete and outright respect for Kleybanova and the courage she was exhibiting.

"The thoughts of the WTA and the entire tennis family are with Alisa and her family at this difficult time," said a WTA statement.

"Alisa is a very strong and optimistic person and we wish her a speedy and full recovery."

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