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US Open marks Slam return after cancer treatment

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 25, 2013 at 7:00 pm •  Published: August 25, 2013

"If I'm not playing tennis on a high level, I'm not going to keep playing. Now the challenge for me is to get back to the top," said Kleybanova, who is entered in doubles at the U.S. Open with Christina McHale of the United States. "It's not going to happen quick. It's going to take some time."

Other players are pleased to see her back on tour, finding her story "inspiring," as Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli put it.

"To see her go through all this and still come back — as a tennis player, it takes a tremendous amount of desire," Bartoli said. "I have so much respect for everything she's been doing and dealing with. I can't even imagine how hard it would've been for her."

Andrea Petkovic, a former top-10 player beset by injuries, said that seeing Kleybanova overcome cancer put her own issues in a new light.

"What happened to her is 100 million times worse than what happened to me. Everyone was coming to me and saying, 'Oh, poor you!' — and then you just see everything in perspective again," Petkovic said. "I always knew her as a very, very nice girl and very open and happy about life and just very positive. And then I didn't see her for two years. When I saw her (back on tour), I told her, 'So happy to see you back.' And she told me, 'I'm so happy to see you back.' I hope I'm going to see her back where she was."

So does Kleybanova, who says her career aim is once again what it had been before getting sick: She wants to climb all the way up to the top 10.

She knows that won't be easy. But she is determined.

"For now, my goal is to at least be in the top 100, try to get there as fast as possible," Kleybanova said with a smile, "and then see what happens."


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