Kristine Paul, a member of the Northern Women's team, has battled back from stomach cancer to be able to play at Nationals.
© Andrew Ong
By Adam Kempa, Special to USTA.com
Tucson, Ariz. – No team at the USTA League 4.5 Adult National Championships has had to overcome as much adversity as the Women’s Northern team hailing from Minnesota. Through it all, the team has banded together and persevered to make it all the way here to Tucson.
Kristine Paul was diagnosed with stomach cancer about a year ago. It took her 2 months to be able to eat again, and five months before she could pick up a racket and get back out on the court playing the game she loves. The fact that she is in Tucson this weekend competing for a national championship is an incredible display of strength, both physically and mentally.
The thought of playing tennis again was a huge motivator for Kris during her recovery, and gave her something to look forward to during the hard times. "My team competed in and won a winter league that I wasn’t able to play in, and it was hard for me not to be out there playing with them," she said. It is a constant battle for her to eat enough to stay energized and maintain her strength for the matches, but she is happy to be playing the game she loves again.
Along with Kristine’s battle against cancer, the team has had to deal with other obstacles that have prevented key players from competing. One of their top players broke her wrist during an intrasquad doubles match at practice right before their first tournament of the year. She missed the first round of qualifying, and the Northern sectionals but has recovered enough to compete at the National Championships. And last but not least, another one of their key players is not here in Tucson because she recently had a baby.
The team has been able to overcome life-threatening illnesses, injuries, and pregnancies to make it all the way to the National Championships. Whatever the cause has been of a player missing significant time, there has always been someone ready to step in and fill their place. Win or lose, the Northern women are truly an inspirational story of overcoming hardships and coming together as a team.
for more stories from 2011 USTA League 4.5 Adult National Championships.