Kleybanova Battles Back From Cancer to Receive Sony Ericsson Open Wildcard
MIAMI, Fla. (www.sonyericssonopen.com) The 22-year-old Russian was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphona in May 2011 and was forced to withdraw from the season’s remaining tournaments to undergo treatment. Before she was compelled to step away from the game, Kleybanova was a rising star on the WTA tour. She collected her first two career singles titles in 2010, and was off to a strong start in 2011 where she reached a career-high ranking of No. 20 in the world.
“We are pleased to extend a wildcard to Alisa,” said tournament director Adam Barrett. “She has shown tremendous perseverance and determination to return to the court and I know that her story can be an inspiration to others.”
Kleybanova has completed all of her tests and has begun training for her return to the tour. The Sony Ericsson Open will mark her 2012 debut.
“I finished my treatments in December and a couple of weeks ago I did my last tests in Italy,” said Kleybanova. “The treatments were successful, my doctors are happy with my health and I’m feeling great!”
The tournament awarded several wildcard entries last week; including seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams; Chilean Fernando Gonzalez who will retire after the tournament; and former World No. 6 David Nalbandian.
The women’s main draw begins on Tuesday, March 20, while the men’s main draw kicks off the following day on Wednesday, March 21. The qualifying rounds will be held Monday and Tuesday, March 19 and 20.
Tickets to the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open are on sale now and can be purchased by phone (305-442-3367) or via internet at www.sonyericssonopen.com. An electrifying two weeks of tennis conclude with the women’s final on Saturday, March 31 and the men’s final on Sunday, April 1.
ABOUT THE SONY ERICSSON OPEN: The 2012 Sony Ericsson Open will be played March 19-April 1 at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park in Miami. The two-week combined event, founded by Butch Buchholz in 1985, is owned and operated by IMG. The Sony Ericsson Open is one of nine ATP Masters 1000 Series events on the ATP calendar, a Premier Mandatory event on the WTA calendar, and features the top men’s and women’s tennis players in the world. In 2011 Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal for his second Sony Ericsson Open title, while Victoria Azarenka knocked off Maria Sharapova to capture her second title in Miami. For ticket information, call (305) 442-3367 or visit the website at www.SonyEricssonOpen.com.