Naomi Osaka: Pundits discuss French Open withdrawal
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Rafael Nadal has congratulated Carlos Suarez Navarro on her recovery from cancer as she returns to the court at the French Open. The former world No 6 was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in September last year.
After several gruelling months of treatment, the Spaniard was declared cancer-free in April this year and prepares to take to the court just nine months after her diagnosis.
The two-time French Open quarterfinalist takes on former US Open champion Sloane Stephens for a place in the second round and ahead of her opening match, 20-time-Grand slam champion Nadal has sent his best wishes in a video message.
The tennis great said: “Hi Carla, how are you? Well, I just want to congratulate you for the attitude and everything you have transmitted during these complicated months that you have for sure lived.
“You are a champion. You were already one on-court, but now you showed us that you’re also one away from the court, and I just wanted to congratulate you and tell you that I’m very happy for your recovery.
“I’m sure that little by little you will again find the strengths to play tennis again or play whatever sport you want.
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“I send you a big kiss and many congratulations.”
Navarro was planning on retiring last year before her diagnosis and now hopes to end her career competing at the biggest tournaments including Wimbledon and the Olympics before she bids farewell to the tennis tour at the US Open in August.
“I think I’m a positive person, not pessimistic. In the world of tennis, everyone talked to me, everyone put things on Twitter and Instagram,” she told the WTA website ahead of her return.
“That for me was very positive, a lot of strength, a lot of energy.
“I am tremendously excited to be able to participate in Roland Garros.
“I have been working in recent months to give myself the opportunity to compete one last time in Paris. I am looking forward to taking the court and feeling again how special this place has always been for me.”
Several other players have also offered their support to the popular 32-year-old including two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.
“As a person, she has always been one of the most sympathetic girls on the tour. Pretty humble, down to earth,” said the Czech.
“I saw her in Madrid and in the situation, I didn’t really know what to do. I said, Carla, can I hug you? She said, ‘yeah’.”
Meanwhile, Nadal gets his French Open campaign underway against Alexei Popyrin on Tuesday afternoon.
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