sports photography by Dieter Nagel

Friday, February 05, 2010

Corina Morariu's New Book

LIVING THROUGH THE RACKET: How I Survived Leukemia... and Rediscovered My Self

"Many of us have been blessed to lead wonderful lives, but when we look at women and men who have won the types of battles Corina has waged, we understand how amazing the human spirit is and how important positive thinking can be." - Billie Jean King

In her honest, unsparing memoir, LIVING THROUGH THE RACKET: How I Survived Leukemia... and Rediscovered My Self, Corina Morariu opens up publicly for the first time about her cancer survival, and how what brought her to the brink of death ultimately saved her life. Morariu was at the height of her professional tennis career as the No.1 doubles player in the world when she met her fiercest opponent: Leukemia.

Morariu won the women's doubles title at Wimbledon in 1999 and the mixed doubles title at the 2001 Australian Open before she was diagnosed with an advanced form of acute myelogenous leukemia in 2001. Caught completely by surprise, she underwent chemotherapy and made a full recovery, becoming the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour's Comeback Player of the Year in 2003.

Lindsay Davenport says of Corina, "I will never forget seeing her for the first time in the hospital in Miami. Here was one of the healthiest, most athletic people I've ever met looking frail, thin, and ashen, battling for her life. It was emotionally very tough for me to see her like that. I can't imagine what it must have been like for her. But, she came back. She didn't just survive; she thrived."

Morariu's return to tennis after surviving leukemia made national headlines in 2002. Although she was always portrayed positively in the media, she struggled with negative emotions and self-doubt: tennis was not a great joy of hers, her marriage to her one-time coach (11 years her senior) was dissolving, her family was upset by her decision (and threatening to sue her for more money for her ex-husband), and she had entered into a tumultuous relationship with pro-tennis player Justin Gimelstob. Many people knew publicly of the battle she faced with leukemia, yet no one knew of her private battles.

Morariu details her journey from being a tennis player at the top of her game, to fighting for her life, and ultimately re-examining her career, marriage, and family, in order to live the life she wanted. Contracting leukemia was the catalyst for her wake-up call. It remade her... and ultimately, it saved her.

"Putting my thoughts, feelings and experiences into words in an honest way was a daunting and challenging process, but it is my hope that people will be able to relate to my story on an intimate level," Morariu said about the book. "We all go through challenges in life, and I wanted to share my belief that adversity can lead to positive personal change and transformation."

Click here to check out Corina Morariu's inspiring story.