The news came as a shock. And on her birthday, no less. Alisa Kleybanova has revealed that she's been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a form of cancer, and has been undergoing treatment at her training base in Perugia, Italy.
On her 22nd birthday, the Russian wrote "I am a strong person. I've shown it before. Obviously this is different than anything I've ever experienced, but after this is over, my life will be even better than before."
"I'm really happy I have the best and most important people with me here today," wrote Kleybanova. "My family and best friends are here. They're here all of these days and weeks helping me get through this."
Read the whole article on the WTA website here.
Consider me floored. Alisa Kleybanova is one of the nicest most down-to-earth women on the Tour. She's easy-going, humble, loves the sport of tennis, loves her life on the Tour, and even made time to let a small-time sucker like me interview her last year in Stanford.
We all know that injuries are a part of the game in tennis, but when someone so young and so sweet gets dealt an unlucky hand like this it just really tears you up.
There's not much I can say here, except that if there was ever a time to send fan mail to a WTA player, this would be that time.
Get in touch with @kfish_wta on twitter, or anybody else on the WTA staff, and see what you can do about lifting Alisa's spirits.
In the meantime, thoughts and prayers to Alisa!