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The Second Time Around
S.L. Price
May 19, 1997
Helen Kelesi was a tennis terror until a brain tumor changed her life and approach to the game
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May 19, 1997

The Second Time Around

Helen Kelesi was a tennis terror until a brain tumor changed her life and approach to the game

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Her opponents aren't buying this. Yet. After all, when she lost the fourth match of her comeback, Kelesi left the court in tears. Simpson wants to see how Kelesi reacts a year from now, when they're competing head-to-head, or next week, when she returns to her beloved French Open for the first time since surgery. "I'm in the qualifying tournament, but I'm hoping for a wild card," Kelesi says. "The French is my favorite tournament, so whether I'm in the qualifying or the main draw, I'll be happy to be there."

But for today, anyway, calmness reigns. Pock! Kelesi is serving ball after ball on the Gainesville court when a huge voice comes screaming from over the fence: "Psyche up, Gators! How bad do you want the ring?" The Florida men's team is playing a minor tournament on the adjacent courts to the accompaniment of one fan's unending apocalyptic bellow. "This is the biggest match! Psyche up!"

Kelesi stops, cocks an eyebrow, shakes her head. How could anyone care so much?

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