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Nicole Gibbs says she is cancer-free after surgery but tennis return is delayed

Nicole Gibbs has won seven ITF singles titles
Image: Nicole Gibbs has won seven ITF singles titles

American tennis player Nicole Gibbs is cancer-free after surgery to remove the tumour on the roof of her mouth was successful but she will be sidelined for longer than previously thought. 

The 26-year-old said earlier this month that a dentist had discovered the growth, which a biopsy later revealed was a rare form of cancer, forcing her out of the clay-court season, including the ongoing French Open.

"Good news: Surgery successfully removed the cancer!" Gibbs wrote on Twitter.

"Margins were clear and I am currently cancer free!!," she said, adding the cancer turned out to be different from that originally diagnosed but is still expected to be eradicated by the procedure.

However, Gibbs, ranked world No 115, will be on a feeding tube for the "foreseeable future" after some post-surgery complications, a development that all but ends her hopes of attempting to qualify for Wimbledon, which runs from July 1-14.

"I'm definitely kicked off my timeline and Wimbledon qualifying is looking out of the question," she said.

"I've had some humbling moments in the past couple weeks that have made me realise the futility of a 'plan' when it comes to a recovery like this.

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"I've felt at times like I've wanted to crawl into a hole and hide. But in those moments, I still see and feel your support and appreciate it greatly."

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