French Open return kept me going through cancer treatment – Carla Suarez Navarro
Carla Suarez Navarro explained how the thought of playing one last match at Roland Garros kept her going as she battled against cancer.
The Spaniard, a former top-10 player and two-time French Open quarter-finalist, had announced her intention to retire at the end of 2020 before first the coronavirus pandemic hit and then, in September, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Suarez Navarro initially thought she was suffering from Covid-19 but instead faced months of treatment before, in April, announcing she had been given the all-clear.
The 32-year-old was unable to pull off a fairytale comeback, serving for the match in the second set against former US Open champion Sloane Stephens before going down 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, but is hoping to play at the summer’s other big events before hanging up her racket.
Suarez Navarro said: “It was a long time, really tough moments. Tough months. But every time I had on my mind that I want to be here, I want to come back. Roland Garros is one of my favourite tournaments, so I had it really clear that my first tournament will be this one.
Nothing but respect. ❤️🤗
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 1, 2021
“Then I tried to prepare myself for my best tennis that I can. Obviously I need more time, but I had a good time this week practising, I had a good level in my match.
“Of course I felt tired at the end. I knew that if I don’t close the match in two sets, it will be so difficult for me. But I’m really proud, too, of myself and really happy to have the chance to play here one last time.
Another step forward. Today I finished my treatment and overcame Hodgkin lymphoma.
Thanks to all for your warm messages. Every word of support gave me strength during the past few months. ❤️
All my gratitude to healthcare professionals who take care of us every day. I'M CURED! pic.twitter.com/kF3HwHPh0y
— Carla Suárez Navarro (@CarlaSuarezNava) April 22, 2021
Suarez Navarro had not played a tournament since Doha last February, and she said: “Until March 1 of this year, I could not practise full. I started to play with soft balls, I started to play for 20 minutes. Then every day I’m going better. I played a little bit more.
“Of course it was tough. My body felt a lot of change in those months. But I did everything that I could to be here.”
The big disappointment was that Paris’ 9pm curfew meant Suarez Navarro bade her farewell to an empty stadium, with Stephens clapping her off court.
Novak Djokovic still has Olympic dream in his sights
The Olympic dream still claws at Novak Djokovic.
Novak Djokovic has a champion mindset that powers his success
Novak Djokovic says that you need to think like a champion to be a champion.
WTA Rankings: Karolina Muchova treads comeback trail
Karolina Muchova made her first last-eight appearance of 2022 as a wild card in Tallinn.
Hubert Hurkacz takes a step towards Turin with victory in Astana Open first round
Hubert Hurkacz was in dominating form during his 82-minute triumph over Cerundulo.
Irritated Iga Swiatek pulls out of Billie Jean King Cup over schedule conflict
The world number one has hit out at the lack of time between the WTA Finals and the Billie Jean King Cup Finals.
Carlos Alcaraz to battle Daniil Medvedev and Novak Djokovic for Astana Open
The Astana Open could feature a number of Carlos Alcaraz dream matches.
The wit and wisdom of outspoken former World No 1 John McEnroe
John McEnroe has always had plenty to say.
Novak Djokovic: Five remarkable records held by the GOAT contender
Novak Djokovic stands alone in the record books.
Novak Djokovic sends out a warning as he storms to another ATP title
Djokovic won the ATP 250 event without dropping a set al