Suarez Navarro ‘dreams’ of Tokyo Olympics comeback after cancer treatment

January 29, 2021
Sports

Former world number six Carla Suarez Navarro says she is responding “very well” to cancer treatment and “dreams” of returning for one last major event – this year’s Tokyo Olympics.

The Spaniard, 32, was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma last year.

Suarez Navarro posted on Twitter on Monday that she was having her last chemotherapy session.

“I don’t want people to remember me in a hospital bed, so I’d like to go again into a big tournament,” she said.

“It would be a dream to do that – an Olympic Games to say bye to my tennis family and also all my tennis fans.”

Suarez Navarro, who had previously planned to retire in 2020, said she has discussed teaming up with Garbine Muguruza, her doubles partner at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

She added that she is looking forward to the moment when she plays again, although acknowledged it will be “slow progress” to recover physically.

“I’ll feel so much joy and happiness when that moment comes,” she told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“I’ll be very thankful and a little bit nervous to be on the court again.

“Hopefully it can happen in Tokyo. Hopefully we can go and play together again but there’s a lot that needs to be seen yet.”

The seven-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist says her focus remains on treatment and recovering physically, but said she began to reconsider her plans to retire after doctors encouraged her to continue to play tennis.

Suarez Navarro, who is still ranked 85 in the world despite last playing in February 2020, returned to the court for the first time in December to practise with Italy’s former world number five Sara Errani in Barcelona.

“What doctors said is basically that tennis and doing a sport was good for me so I decided to carry on with it,” she said.

“When Sara Errani came to Barcelona to train, it was really good. I played with her plenty of times – I played doubles with her. It was a very nice experience because it was the first time I’d got hold of a racquet in a few months.”

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