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King Lindsay
Apr 22nd, 2003, 07:03 AM
A few days back, I was up late, and this show came on TSN (Canadian sports network, if you don't know) called TSN Profiles. Anyway, they were profiling Helen Kelesi, interviewing her, her father, a former Fed cup captain for Canada, etcetera, etcetera. Very compelling stuff. Anyway, I did not realize the grave extent of Helen's health problems. She has suffered NUMEROUS brain tumours, she had to have her forehead removed! Yes, that's right, her forehead was removed. She has a synthetic one now. Also, she has permanently lost her sense of smell from all the operations, and has suffered much damage to her eyesight over the years. It's just truly horrible what has befallen her. They said that the first tumour she had removed (in 1994) had been growing inside of her for about TWELVE YEARS. She played every single pro tennis match of her life with a brain tumour. The doctors said they did not know how she was able to function. Her long-term health is still in doubt, and she's only 34.

Oh, if you don't know who Helen Kelesi is, she was Canada's best player for about four or five years towards the late 80s and early 90s. her ranking peaked in the top 15 (i think, not sure if she ever cracked the top ten), and she made the QF of the French Open a time or two, I think. So yeah, did anybody else see this special on her, or am I the only one? It was on at some ungodly hour, so i would not be surprised if i was.

Lelu
Apr 22nd, 2003, 07:40 AM
Yes, Helen went through very difficult times. And after her first surgery, when a tumor the size of a grapefruit was removed from her head, she even attempted a comeback playing some ITF events. Her family life was also rather tumultuous. I met Helen's estranged mother who used to give tennis lessons in Stanley Park in Vancouver. Unfortunately, she was an alcoholic and that was probably the reason she lived separately from her husband and daughter. I don't even know what happened to her as she disappeared from the local tennis scene some time ago. Helen, on the other hand, tried different things when she retired from tennis. I know she went to college to get education in hotel management. She wrote a column in North Shore News, a North Vancouver community newspaper. She also worked as a tennis commentator for TSN during the Canadian Open a few years back. I don't even know what she is doing now as I have lost track of her. I suspect she still lives in Vancouver.

King Lindsay
Apr 22nd, 2003, 07:49 AM
Yes, Helen went through very difficult times. And after her first surgery, when a tumor the size of a grapefruit was removed from her head, she even attempted a comeback playing some ITF events. Her family life was also rather tumultuous. I met Helen's estranged mother who used to give tennis lessons in Stanley Park in Vancouver. Unfortunately, she was an alcoholic and that was probably the reason she lived separately from her husband and daughter. I don't even know to happened to her as she disappeared from the local tennis scene some time ago. Helen, on the other hand, tried different things when she retired from tennis. I know she went to college to get education in hotel management. She wrote a column in North Shore News, a North Vancouver community newspaper. She also worked as a tennis commentator for TSN during the Canadian Open a few years back. I don't even know what she is doing now as I have lost track of her. I suspect she still lives in Vancouver.

I remember her commentating stint.

I remember she said something about working with younger players, so I gather she's doing some coaching on the side.

doloresc
Apr 22nd, 2003, 12:17 PM
i remember kelesi and all her extreme health problems. she's remarkable! what is the connection that kelesi has to seles? i can't remember exactly but i believe that seles got quite emotional when kelesi's name came up in an interview when seles returned in '95. any recollections?

King Lindsay
Apr 22nd, 2003, 12:20 PM
i remember kelesi and all her extreme health problems. she's remarkable! what is the connection that kelesi has to seles? i can't remember exactly but i believe that seles got quite emotional when kelesi's name came up in an interview when seles returned in '95. any recollections?

Hmmm, they probably hated each other. LOL. Helen had a way of making enemies. ;) :D

JonBcn
Apr 22nd, 2003, 01:12 PM
Wow..thanks for the info. I knew Helen had had health problems, but I wasnt aware they were to that extent! :eek:

I remember Helen particularly for her no nonsense attitude. If people think Capriati had a foul mouth, even Jen would have blushed if she'd been on court with Helen in full verbal assault!

Incredible that she played as a pro all that time with a brain tumour and never even knew...

Jesquimaux
Apr 22nd, 2003, 01:13 PM
Didn't another Canadian player Jeyaseelan have a brain tumor?

katoles2003
Apr 22nd, 2003, 02:28 PM
Yes Jeyaseelan did have a tumor but only took a few months off.

Helen right now is currently living in Saskatoon Saskatchewan where she helps coach young kids, not sure what else she is doing.

Kyle

King Lindsay
Apr 23rd, 2003, 12:09 AM
Didn't another Canadian player Jeyaseelan have a brain tumor?

Was it a tumour Sonja had? I thought she had a couple of large cysts behind her eyes. Something like that .... it was very serious, but I don't think she's in the peril Helen is.

Anna Kournikova
Apr 23rd, 2003, 12:54 AM
I always get mixed up with Helen Kelesi and Helen Keller.

And Monica and Helen um... Kelesi? had a big bitch out session.

Anna Kournikova
Apr 23rd, 2003, 12:56 AM
I always get mixed up with Helen Kelesi and Helen Keller.

And Monica and Helen um... Kelesi? had a big bitch out session.

I didnt mean to say that I meant to say had a big bitch out session I was once told. I dhhunno how to edit my messeage.

Stuart
Apr 23rd, 2003, 12:59 AM
Helen won the Italian Open Doubles 1990 with Monica Seles......

Anna Kournikova
Apr 23rd, 2003, 01:01 AM
Helen won the Italian Open Doubles 1990 with Monica Seles......

Doubles partners can have fights sometimes you know! Or so I've heard. It can be frustrating.

LisaRaymond
Apr 23rd, 2003, 01:47 AM
Doubles partners can have fights sometimes you know! Or so I've heard. It can be frustrating.

Yes, I've heard that too. Can't understand it myself! ;)

It's scary that Helen went all that time without knowing she had the tumors, you'd assume that with all the medical checks players have that someone would have picked it up while she was playing.

Asmus
Apr 23rd, 2003, 02:29 AM
I think Monica ended her doubles with Helen, which really pissed Helen off. Monica wrote in her book that when they played at the 1992 French Open (which Monica barely won) she thought that Helen was motivated by their falling out.

monster
Apr 23rd, 2003, 04:12 AM
I loved Helen and have often written about her on the board. Her fiesty play was very entertaining. Her health issues are nothing short of tragic. Although Bassett was ranked higher and was more celebrated, I reckon Helen comes pretty close to being the most succesful Canadian ever. I hope her health issues will finally turn around

baleineau
Apr 23rd, 2003, 02:36 PM
helen and seles fell out at the 90 french open. they had played together in the run up to the event (winning the italian open!) and basically doing well. but monica dumped helen so it seemed (though Monica claimed they had no agreement to play together at the French, with helen just assuming).

luck had it that they met 2R of singles in 90 French open. Seles won 4-6 6-4 6-4 after a tremendous fight by helen. The match was tense, and unfriendly.

Helen was on the verge of becoming a permanent fixture in the top-15 to top-20. Think Testud.

She had wins over ASV, Martinez, Novotna, Sukova, Maleeva-F, Shriver, and was at her peak in 87-91. Her game was not great (top-30) but her attitude and spirit were top-5. Helen never gave up, and would fiercely contest close calls. She was also outspoken, with an inflated ego (like most pros at the top). To hear her talk, you'd think she was top-10.

The health problems were severe indeed. She had several big operations. I didn't know about the removal of her forehead though. That sounds really nasty. She's definitely been through more than anyone should have to cope with. The amazing thing is how positive she has remained throughout her ordeals.

Thanks for the news about this profile. I wish I could see it here, or have it on tape.

Helen, despite her temper (or even because of) was one of the biggest characters in women's tennis at the time. never a dull moment when she played. and despite taking herself so seriously, she had a great sense of humour and modesty hiding beneath it.

Oh one thing, helen never blamed herself for losses and bad moments. if she lost, it was because of the line calls, the quality of the court, the noise around the court, the other player playing above themselves and having the match of their life.......never her own shortcomings LOL

if she was around today, she'd be one of the most popular and talked about players on tour. she was also good-looking and sexy (because of her complexity and moodswings).

Ryan
Apr 24th, 2003, 02:34 AM
Thanks Baleineau, I was just about to spout that all out.;)


Helen reached a career high of #13 in the late 80's, and had lots of big wins like the above post said.:p

I saw that TSN Profile after the Canadian Open final, it was really good stuff. The falling out between Helen/Monica happened like baleineau said, after Seles played odubles with someone else/not at all at the 90 RG.


I never saw Helen play, but I've tried to learn as much about her as I could.:p

King Lindsay
Apr 24th, 2003, 06:10 AM
Thanks Baleineau, I was just about to spout that all out.;)


Helen reached a career high of #13 in the late 80's, and had lots of big wins like the above post said.:p

I saw that TSN Profile after the Canadian Open final, it was really good stuff. The falling out between Helen/Monica happened like baleineau said, after Seles played odubles with someone else/not at all at the 90 RG.


I never saw Helen play, but I've tried to learn as much about her as I could.:p

So somebody else has seen it!!! Well, I knew it wasn't a new special. New specials do not air at 2 in the morning, lol.

The kelesi-monica falling out .... I might not be remembering this properly, but didn't Helen absolutely explode on Monica before the match? I thought that she found out just before that match and unleased a profane tirade on monica, vowing to beat her, which she very nearly did. thought i read that somewhere.

Jakeev
Apr 24th, 2003, 08:54 AM
Helen really was the original bad girl of tennis. But I loved watching her play tennis and it's sad how she had to end her career.

Cannot remember where but I seem to recall reading sometime last year I think on this board or maybe yahoo that Monica and Helen have long since patched things up quite a while ago.

Perhaps someone can confirm this?

Postcard
Apr 24th, 2003, 09:25 AM
WROM: JVZCMHVIBGDADRZFSQHY
(I think that the headings turned into Czech! But I will translate them!]
From World of Tennis 1989

Helen Kelesi
Born Victoria [Canada], 15 November 1969
RH; 2HB
5ft 5in
"The daughter of Czech parents who left that country for Canada a year before her birth..."
"feisty, gritty backcourt player"
Won her first pro tournament in 1986 (Japan Open) [Kelesi d Fulco 6-2, 6-2]


WTA TOUR BIOGRAPHY (it's in the historical bios section):

http://www.wtatour.com/index.cfm?section=players&cont_id=player&personnel_id=724&roster_id=24

"Career wins over Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Conchita Martinez, Jana Novotna, Natasha Zvereva, Kimiko Date, Yayuk Basuki and Amy Frazier"


WROM: UCDDJBLVLMHAALPTCXLYRWTQTIP
From Who's Who in Canadian Sport

"Hurricane Helen"
Canadian Federation Cup team: 1986-94
Best WTA singles ranking: #13 (1989)
4 straight Canadian women's singles titles 1987-1990
1988 Olympic team
Brain tumor operations 1995, 1997
Returned to tour briefly 1997

And there are a few pages on her in Michael Mewshaw's [unpleasant? mean?] book, 'Ladies of the Court' (pp 168-171).

doloresc
Apr 24th, 2003, 12:51 PM
thank you baleineau! very informative! :)

le-plus-beau
Apr 24th, 2003, 01:00 PM
I saw french open match in 1990 and Helen lead in second and third set by 4-2 and then lost both.

It was a very emotional match!!! Helen fought like a geant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I will search for the video match one day for my collection.


Helen you were a great fighter!!!!!