Her toughest match: former pro Rene Simpson is battling cancer -- Update: R.I.P. Rene - TennisForum.com
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Old Apr 18th, 2013, 07:16 PM   #1
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Her toughest match: former pro Rene Simpson is battling cancer -- Update: R.I.P. Rene

Rene Simpson Collins is currently battling cancer.
Her husband, Jason Collins, kindly provided this update on her condition, and ways for members of the tennis family to be in touch:

“Last September, Rene was told she had a pinched nerve and that it was causing spasms in her left toes. As the frequency of the spasms increased, it was determined that she was having seizures and that she needed to get an MRI done on her brain.

Two days later, the MRI showed that Rene had three tumors on her brain. She underwent surgery to remove a section of one of the tumors and, after the biopsy, was diagnosed with a Grade 3 Anaplastic Astrocytoma, a malignant brain tumor. “Rene has completed radiation treatment and the initial chemotherapy session of six weeks. While she has handled the treatment pretty well, she underwent a second surgery in mid April to remove one of the tumors. Her attitude remains incredibly strong given what she has been through over the past six months; she remains the grinder she was on court. She is very appreciative of all of the thoughts from everyone in the tennis community. Awebsite is maintained where people can follow her progress and leave her messages – go to www.inspiredbyrene.com
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I have spread my dreams under your feet
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams

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Old Apr 18th, 2013, 07:17 PM   #2
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Re: Her toughest match: former pro Rene Simpson is battling cancer



Rene’s Career Highlights

Winner of three WTA doubles titles ... Rose to No.70 in singles
and No.32 in doubles ... Advanced to 3r at1989 Roland Garros
... Second-longest serving member of Canadian Fed Cup
Team, 1988-98 ... Captain of Canadian Fed Cup Team,
2001-10 ... Involved in 31 straight ties as Fed Cup player/
coach/captain...Olympian, 1992 Barcelona Games ... Inducted
to Canadian Tennis Hall of Fame
in 2011 ... Star player for
Texas Christian University, indu
cted to TCU Hall of Fame in
2009 ... Received Lifetime Service Award from ITF in 2010
__________________
But I, being poor, have only my dreams
I have spread my dreams under your feet
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams
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Old Apr 18th, 2013, 07:18 PM   #3
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Re: Her toughest match: former pro Rene Simpson is battling cancer

A Life In Tennis: Rene Simpson

I began playing tennis...

At the Sarnia Riding Club in Ontario
when I was five years old. Our house was next door to the club so
the whole family was active in tennis.
The people who had the greatest impact on my development
as a player were...

A lot to name here. First and foremost, my parents.
My father coached me through my
junior years and then they both
became an incredible support system
throughout my career. I didn’t
have one “career” coach but so many people at Tennis Canada sup-
ported me with coaching, fitness
and physiotherapy — Wendy Patten-
den, Andre Labelle, Hatem McDadi,
Pierre Lamarche, Marlene Nobrega
to name a few.
My tennis hero is...
Billie Jean King. She was the first name I associ-
ated with being a professional tennis player. Also Jimmy Connors, for
being a left handed grinder.
My strengths and weaknesses as a player were...
I was a fighter,
mentally tough, a grinder who never gave up. My weakness was that I
didn’t have a weapon — I couldn’t
put the ball away but I could run
one down.
My finest moment on the court was...
Two part answer: Barcelona
Olympics was very special on court, while my biggest win was against
Karina Habsudova when she was ranked No.11 in the world.
My toughest opponent was...
Steffi Graf. I played
her four times in
singles, three times in doubles. Considering my ranking, it was bad luck
that I had to play her that many
times. That forehand was unreal.
The match that got away was...
Nathalie Tauziat at the Italian Open
in 1991. I lost 6-4 in 3rd, just couldn’t close it out.
My favorite tournament was...
The French Open. Favorite surface,
loved Paris and I just felt comfortable there.
For me, the best player ever is...
Steffi. She had an amazing combination of power, speed and mental toughness and was
one the classi
est players to play the game.
My fantasy match would be against...
Martina Navratilova. I was very fortunate to play against a lot of the greats of the game but I never got
to play Martina. It would have been nice to look back and see my name next to hers for a match.
When I look at how the sport has evolved, I feel...
More players are able to make a living now with sponsorship and prize money increases.
The game is financially in better shape for all involved. The game itself
is of course at a different level of power and speed but the support for
and of the players by the WTA is great to see.
The current player I most like to watch is...
Aga Radwanska. She doesn’t have the weapons that some of the top players have, so I ap-
preciate how she has to play the game.
Since stepping away from the tour, I have been kept busy by...
I was Fed Cup Captain for Canada for 10 years until 2010. I moved to
Chicago eight years ago with my husband and while still playing ten-
nis, I have been very active in golf over the last three years.
My proudest achievement away from tennis is...
My whole life from 1971 to 2010 was about tennis, be it as a player, coach or captain.
Really only recently started thinking outside of tennis. My life at home
gives me my biggest smile.
Tennis gave me...
Everything. An education, a career, a husband and great friends.
Combine that with a sense of confidence and a healthy

lifestyle, not a lot of things can do that.
__________________
But I, being poor, have only my dreams
I have spread my dreams under your feet
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams
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Old Apr 18th, 2013, 11:50 PM   #4
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Re: Her toughest match: former pro Rene Simpson is battling cancer

Quote:
Originally Posted by spiceboy View Post
...Two days later, the MRI showed that Rene had three tumors on her brain. She underwent surgery to remove a section of one of the tumors and, after the biopsy, was diagnosed with a Grade 3 Anaplastic Astrocytoma, a malignant brain tumor.
Sad. And what are the odds of two Canadian tennis pro contemporaries getting brain tumors...
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Old Apr 18th, 2013, 11:52 PM   #5
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Re: Her toughest match: former pro Rene Simpson is battling cancer

To help flesh out the person...

Tennis player turns pro
The Toronto Star
Tuesday, June 21, 1988
Sam Laskaris

Having had a racquet in her hands since she was 3, North York's Rene Simpson knows tennis better than most. Now the 22-year-old hopes to make some money at the game.

Simpson, a recent graduate from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, has decided to join the professional ranks for a while.

In her first tournament as a pro, the Sporting Life/Prince Open Tennis Championships at York University last week, she successfully defended her title.

But unlike last year when she was still an amateur, Simpson pocketed $960 for her victory over Suzanne Italiano, 6-1, 7-5.

The money made this year's win even more gratifying, Simpson says.

"I've played tennis for so long that I want to see how I would do as a pro," she says. "I'm either going to make it and support myself on the tour or quit and get a job in my major (accounting)."

But Simpson realizes the initial stages of her career won't be that easy.

"It's very expensive the first little while," she says. "I'm sure my expenses will be more than what I make. But I'm going to give it my full attention for about two years.

"After that I'll know if I'm capable of making money and a career out of it. If I'm not nearing the Top 100 (rankings in the world) in two years, I don't think I would continue. But I am confident I can do well."

Simpson says she doesn't want to be one of those players who stay out on the tour for years and can't face the fact that they are never going to make it.

'Always had a spark'

Bob Wood, director of player development at the Ontario Tennis Association, has known Simpson for nine years. He says Simpson needs to work on her game a bit more before she establishes herself as a pro.

"She's always had a spark and been a competitive player," Wood says. "She has shown she can win (as an amateur). But at the pro level she needs to develop a more complete game. She has to start thinking in that mode. She will be forced to expand her horizons and become an all-around player."

Simpson, who describes herself as "an aggressive baseliner," knows very well which aspect of her game she has to improve.

"My weakness is my net game," she says. "It is non-existent. If I am going to make it I definitely have to improve my net game."

While at TCU this past year, Simpson won the Southwest Conference singles championship at the University of Texas in April. And she was selected as the southwest region player of the year.

During the course of the season Simpson compiled a record of 42-7. She teamed up with her doubles partner, Tory Plunkett, to post a mark of 31-10, which enabled them to finish the year ranked Number 7 in the country.

But Simpson's biggest accomplishment came when she was named all-American. She earned that distinction by being one of to the final 16 competitors at the NCAA finals held at UCLA in April.

"It was one of my goals to be all-American," she says. "It was something I set from the beginning of the year."
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Old Apr 18th, 2013, 11:53 PM   #6
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Re: Her toughest match: former pro Rene Simpson is battling cancer

Simpson turns tennis heartbreak into triumph
The Toronto Star
Sunday, July 14, 1996
Mary Ormsby

The tearjerker tales will whistle out of Dixie shortly after the torch is lit Friday. But don't be fooled. The worst Olympic heartaches have already occurred.

They've happened to the athletes who won't be starring in the world's biggest commercial for Coca-Cola, the ones left behind when Canada's Atlanta-bound gravy train pulled out.

No big send-off for those on the home front. No telegrams of good luck from schoolchildren who have picked you as their special hero. No chance to represent your country or win a gold medal or share an experience so few on the planet will ever get to taste.

Rene Simpson is one of those left behind. And a rare one, actually, since she has no beef with the selection process for choosing Canada's Olympic tennis team.

The rules were made clear more than a year ago; the women would be selected purely on international rankings. And more than a year ago, Simpson was ranked high enough to be included. However, when deadline day dawned on April 29, she'd dropped too far down the field.

Patricia Hy-Boulais and Jana Nejedly were ahead of her in singles. Doubles was no salvation either. Simpson's poor showing over the previous 12 months meant Hy-Boulais, also an accomplished doubles player, would team with veteran Jill Hetherington.

Heartbroken? You'd better believe it.

"It's devastating," Simpson said, her eyes reddening.

She's 30 years old and has seen her ticket to the Olympic Games go to other players, the same players she teamed with yesterday to represent Canada in a Federation Cup series against Australia.

Under those circumstances, Simpson could have been resentful. Selfish. Bitter. Buckled under the disappointment of missing the Games.

What she did, though, was pull off the biggest victory of the weekend to put Canada in excellent position to fight off relegation in this best-of-five playoff series.

Simpson, playing No. 2 singles for Canada, upset Australia's best player, Nicole Bradtke, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

It was a match Simpson wasn't supposed to win. But what was at stake was the chance to represent her country, proudly and well, in front of a Canadian crowd.

Her own Olympic moment, if you will.

"I never had a chance to play for Canada in Canada before and I wanted to make it really special, " said Simpson, who has played Fed Cup matches before but always in other countries.

"This could be my last chance to represent Canada since I'm not going to the Olympics and, really, I brought a lot of that into this match. I'm very patriotic - that's why I get so emotional in Fed Cup."

It's evident that Simpson's victory yesterday was thoroughly satisfying. When asked if beating Bradtke was one of the most special moments in her career, she immediately responded with: "Absolutely." Then she took just a few seconds to control her quivering jaw.

"I wasn't expected to win today. I was the underdog and I like being in that position," she said. "And when you win like that, it's one of the greatest feelings in tennis."

But no, it won't ever replace the feeling of being at the Olympics.

That Simpson has competed at the Summer Games before - in Barcelona four years ago - makes the sense of loss even greater.

"It was an incredible experience, especially in the opening ceremonies when you'd walk out on the track with all the best athletes in Canada," she said. "It sent chills through me, it was so special."

And how badly will her heart ache not being in Atlanta?

Simpson hesitated slightly.

"Don't make me cry," she said.
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Old Apr 18th, 2013, 11:55 PM   #7
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Re: Her toughest match: former pro Rene Simpson is battling cancer

30-YEAR-OLD SIMPSON WAFFLES ON RETIREMENT
The Fayetteville Observer
North Carolina
Sunday, July 28, 1996
Chip Scoggins


When it comes to retiring, Rene Simpson waffles more than Bob Dole on the effects of smoking.

When the 30-year-old Simpson is playing well, as she has this week in reaching the final of the $25,000 Women's Challenger of Fayetteville, she feels she has several more years of quality tennis left. But when Simpson, who just celebrated her eighth anniversary on the pro circuit, struggles and her body aches, well...

``For the past four or five years, I've said I'm going to retire,'' Simpson said Saturday after defeating Kelly Pace 6-3, 6-3 to advance to today's 11 a.m. final against Lilia Osterloh at Methodist College Tennis Center.

``Six months ago I was ranked 200. After this tournament, I could be as high as 145-120. When I play well and my ranking improves then I think maybe I shouldn't retire. If I ever reach a point where I don't love the game or don't want to play, I think that will be the time I leave.

``For me, this is a job. It's a great job, but a job nonetheless. I don't have the ranking goals that some of these younger girls have. I play to get a check. When you're winning it's always fun, but when you're losing, it's awful. That's why I've thought about retiring so many times. But then I'll start playing well again, and I decide to stay for a little longer.''

Simpson has taken some inspiration from 35-year-old Olympian Carl Lewis, who in spite of his age, is still able to compete against the best track athletes in the world.

``I saw him on TV the other night talking about athletes 30-or 35 years-old that are still in great shape,'' Simpson said. ``I still feel like I'm in great shape. I don't think any of these 20-year-olds are going to come out here and think they can run me all over the court because I'm 30.''

There are other aspects of her life to consider, however.

``When you're 30, you think about having a family,'' she said. ``I don't want to be 40 with no children because it might be too late at that point. But there's no guarantee that if I quit and try to find a husband and have a family that that's going to make me happy either.''

While making it to today's final has brought some happiness, Simpson would much rather be in Atlanta. Considered one of Canada's top doubles players for many years, Simpson had a disappointing season last year, which subsequently dropped her ranking and kept her from competing in the Olympics.

Instead, representing Canada in doubles are Jill Hetherington and Patricia Hy-Boulais, who is also playing singles.

``Patricia decided that she wanted to play doubles as well,'' Simpson said. ``So that meant I was the odd person out. In the past, if someone plays singles they would let someone else play doubles because they wanted to include as many people in the Olympics to give them that experience. But about a year ago they told us that they're going strictly by the rankings. I had a bad year and I slipped in the rankings. I guess they wanted to avoid the politics of it all. I knew for a year what I had to do.''

But that's not much consolation for Simpson, who represented Canada at the Barcelona Games in 1992.

``Not being there is devastating,'' she said. ``I'm not going to be playing when I'm 34 so this was pretty much my last chance. Competing in the Olympics was a dream and definitely the highlight of my career.''
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Old Apr 18th, 2013, 11:57 PM   #8
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Re: Her toughest match: former pro Rene Simpson is battling cancer

SIMPSON PREVAILS OVER AMATEUR
The Fayetteville Observer
North Carolina
Monday, July 29, 1996
Doug Mead

It's a pattern that worked well all week for Rene Simpson. And it worked again Sunday.

Simpson used a flurry of timely drop shots to subdue Lilia Osterloh 6-4, 7-5 in the finals of the $25,000 Women's Challenger of Fayetteville at the Methodist College Tennis Center.

The victory was worth $4,000 to the 30-year-old Simpson, the tournament's No 2 seed. An amateur, Osterloh was not allowed to accept the runner-up prize money of $2,350.

Simpson's frequent use of the drop shot brought the unseeded Osterloh to the net, where she missed easy volleys and botched several key overheads.

``Like a lot of the girls, she's more comfortable staying on the baseline,'' said Simpson, a native of Toronto, Canada. ``Even when I didn't hit a good drop shot, it brought her in and got her out of her comfort zone. And I think that made a big difference.''

The key juncture of the match came midway through the second set when Osterloh turned one of Simpson's drop shots into a rare winner to break serve at 30-40 and take a 4-2 lead. But Osterloh couldn't consolidate the break.

Simpson took advantage of Osterloh's erratic forehand to break back and then hit a winning lob at a crucial juncture of the next game to square the set at 4-4.

Both players held serve the next two games before Simpson rallied from a 40-30 deficit to break serve at 6-5 when Osterloh's forehand sailed long.

The final game of the match was a breeze for Simpson, who took a 30-15 lead on a drop-shot winner, then watched Osterloh make back-to-back unforced errors -- a wide forehand and a long overhead.

Simpson felt like her conditioning was a factor in the victory.

``Even when she broke to go up 4-2, I could tell she was getting tired,'' Simpson said. ``She was stretching her calf muscles and that's a sign. She had to qualify for this tournament and this was her eighth match in eight days. And that's not easy.''

There was only one break of serve in the first set, that coming at 2-1 when Osterloh's trademark forehand sailed long. Simpson then held serve for a 3-1 lead, winning the final point on a rare service winner to take command of the set.

``I watched some of her match (Saturday) and I knew I couldn't just trade groundstrokes from the baseline with her,'' said Simpson. ``I had to use the drop shot and lob and keep the ball low with slice. And it seemed to work.''

A former collegian at Texas Christian, Simpson said she's used to playing in high heat and humidity.

``It was hot playing in Texas, even though that was a long time ago,'' she said. ``And while it's not nearly as hot in Toronto, it's very humid. But it wasn't too bad out there today. Every once in a while a cloud would come over and block out the sun. And that seemed to cool things off for a while.'' Simpson was also a double winner, teamming with Sonya Jeyaseelan to defeat Jane Chi and Kelly Pace 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the doubles finals.
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Old Apr 18th, 2013, 11:59 PM   #9
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Re: Her toughest match: former pro Rene Simpson is battling cancer

Simpson won't retire without a good fight
The Toronto Star
Friday, September 4, 1998

NEW YORK (Staff/Wong) - Canada's Rene Simpson picked a fine way to start her retirement.

Demonstrating the gutsy, fire-in-the-belly play that has characterized her 10 years on the tour, Simpson, along with partner Sonya Jeyaseelan, upset Monica Seles and Mirjana Lucic 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 in the first round at the U.S. Open yesterday.

In the most thrilling women's doubles match so far, the Toronto team had a partisan New York crowd cheering for an upset in a standing-room only sidecourt.

Despite facing two of the hardest hitters on tour, Simpson was fearless, attacking the net on every occasion, daring Seles to hit the passing shot.

Jeyaseelan, meanwhile, seemed to match Seles grunt for grunt, causing the crowd to break out in laughter and applause.

"It was nice that it worked out this way," said Simpson, who isn't playing singles here. "We were complete underdogs and had nothing to lose."

Tired of the grind of travelling and bothered by tendinitis in her shoulder, Simpson says she picked the Open to retire because it was the last Grand Slam of the year.

She has been ranked as high as 70 in the world, in 1989, where she also reached the third round of the French Open.

"Rene will always be remembered as a terrific fighter. She never gives up," said du Maurier tournament director Jane Wynne. Wynne, in New York to support the Canadian team, said Simpson's performance was inspirational.

As for retirement, Simpson says she hopes to coach tennis at perhaps a national level but will miss the competition.

Another plus for Simpson was that her boyfriend, Matt Halder, a pro at the Toronto Cricket and Skating Club, was on hand to see her play professionally for the first time. Simpson and Jeyaseelan next meet Germany's Meike Babel and Argentina's Mercedes Paz.

In other Canadian action, Toronto's Daniel Nestor, along with partner Mark Knowles of the Bahamas, almost got upset by Grant Silcock and Myles Wakefield before coming from behind and winning 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).
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Old Apr 19th, 2013, 03:26 PM   #10
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Re: Her toughest match: former pro Rene Simpson is battling cancer

Thanks for starting this thread Spiceboy.

Good luck Rene-we'll be keeping you in out thoughts and prayers!
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Old May 3rd, 2013, 06:30 AM   #11
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Re: Her toughest match: former pro Rene Simpson is battling cancer

That's a really nice website they're keeping. Prayers and good wishes going out to her.
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Old Oct 17th, 2013, 06:23 PM   #12
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Re: Her toughest match: former pro Rene Simpson is battling cancer

Tennis Mourns the Loss of Rene Simpson

Tennis Canada is mourning the loss of a friend today as former player, coach and Fed Cup captain, Rene Simpson, passed away on Sunday after a year-long battle with brain cancer. She was 47 years old.

Simpson’s contribution to Canadian tennis is immeasurable, but her passion for Canada’s Fed Cup squad stands atop her career achievements. Not only did she own a 20-16 playing record in the team competition, where she was a regular participant throughout the 1990s, she also served as Canada’s Fed Cup captain from 2001 to 2009. Among her accomplishments is leading the team to a World Group II berth in 2007. As a pro, Simpson reached a career-high of No. 70 in April 1989 and advanced to the third round of Roland Garros that same year. In doubles, she was ranked as high as No. 32 in the world, won three titles and was a US Open quarter-finalist. Simpson was inducted into the Canadian Tennis Hall of Fame in 2011.

WTA CEO and Chairman Stacey Allaster said: “Rene was a truly special person who touched the lives of so many in such a positive way. A great champion on and off the court, she was an inspiration to generations of young Canadian girls who loved the sport of tennis and the competition like she did. Rene loved to win and she was incredibly proud of representing Canada on the WTA's world stage, and although she enjoyed a lot of success on the court her greatest accomplishment was living a full life and living the life she wanted to live.

Today we are deeply saddened to lose our friend. And although our WTA Star has lost her fierce battle with cancer, her competitive, independent spirit will inspire us and our memories of Rene will continue to shine brightly. As a personal friend of Rene, and on behalf of Rene's former competitors and everyone in the WTA family, our hearts go out to her loving and supportive husband Jason, her parents, sisters and friends on this incredibly sad day.”

“We are extremely saddened and carry a heavy heart by the news of Rene’s passing,” said Hatem McDadi, vice-president, tennis development, Tennis Canada. “We have lost a very dear friend and member of our tennis family. Rene will be remembered for her courage, patriotic spirit, warmth and loyalty to friends and family. She has been an inspiration and a role model to friends, family and our current generation of female tennis players. Rene is dearly loved and will be missed. We extend our deepest condolences to Rene’s family and friends including her husband Jason Collins, her parents Burt and Jane and her sisters Carol and Anne. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.”

Tennis Canada will honour Simpson during the upcoming Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II first-round tie between Canada and visiting nation Serbia to be held February 8-9, 2014.

Memorial services will be held in both Chicago and Toronto. (details to follow). Instructions for people wishing to make donations will follow

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Old Oct 17th, 2013, 08:32 PM   #13
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Re: Her toughest match: former pro Rene Simpson is battling cancer -- Update: R.I.P.

I was very sad to hear this. I never watched her play but I did follow her results in the 90's

She is the first player I know who has passed since I became a tennis fan

RIP Rene
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Old Oct 18th, 2013, 12:59 PM   #14
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Re: Her toughest match: former pro Rene Simpson is battling cancer -- Update: R.I.P.

A sad loss for Canadian tennis and Rene's family, friends, and fans. Always a shock to see someone taken away so soon - Rene was one of the first Canadians I remember following as a young tennis fan, and her impact in tennis carried on long after her retirement from professional competiton as Fed Cup captain for a decade, and leader/mentor to many young players.

Thoughts are with Rene and her family today. RIP.
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Old Oct 18th, 2013, 05:25 PM   #15
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Re: Her toughest match: former pro Rene Simpson is battling cancer -- Update: R.I.P.

So sad.
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