Cancer didn’t know what it was going up against when it decided to select Francesca Schiavone.

The Italian, widely regarded as one of the most tenacious players of her generation, broke news on social media Friday that she had undergone successful chemotherapy to combat a malignant tumor. In her posting, Schiavone revealed the diagnosis—and subsequent battle—was one of the reasons behind her absence online.


The 39-year-old played her final tournament at Gstaad in July 2018 and announced her retirement a month later at the US Open. She finished her playing career with eight singles titles, including the 2010 French Open. Earlier this year, she consulted as a coach with Caroline Wozniacki during the clay-court season.

Schiavone is the latest in a number of tennis players who have been diagnosed with cancer. In May, Nicole Gibbs underwent surgery for a rare salivary gland cancer. At Wimbledon in 2014, tests showed that then 18-year-old American Vicky Duval had Hodgkin's lymphoma.