In 2008, a 19-year-old ranked No. 132 on the WTA tour qualified for the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time. It was new territory for the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria native, though one would have hardly known with the way the sturdy Spaniard carried herself on court throughout the fortnight. Buoyed by determination and buckets of positivity, all five feet and four inches of this auspicious athlete captivated Roland Garros with an elegant backhand, effortless movement and enchanting smile.
Thirteen years after leaving a lasting impressing with her outstanding run to the quarterfinals, Carla Suarez Navarro is back, beaming in Paris—carrying that identical enthusiasm but for reasons beyond the tennis court. The former world No. 6 is in the French capital to play her first tournament since being declared cancer free.
“I already won the most important match of my life,” she told TENNIS.com earlier this week. “Roland Garros for me is one of the best tournaments in the world. So for me, it's a gift to be here again, to be able to play.”