Paris (AFP) - Colombian tennis player Catalina Castano revealed on Thursday how she has been forced to retire from the sport as she battles breast cancer.
Castano, 35, is the most decorated player in Colombia's Fed Cup history with the most ties played, years played and match wins.
She helped Colombia to third in the Americas Group I in February, but has since been undergoing chemotherapy in what she describes as "the toughest match" of her life.
"It was really hard to hear the news. I didn't know what to do or where to go. I cried for several days, hiding from my parents and sisters," Castano told FedCup.com.
"I decided to do what the doctors recommended which was chemotherapy as quickly as possible.
"Tennis taught me to be a warrior and to fight until the last point and that is how I'm battling daily."
Castano, who reached a career-high ranking of 35 in 2006 and has played 50 Fed Cup ties, said that she had been overwhelmed by the support she had received.
"It has been impressive, I've received many kind and sweet messages and it makes me very happy to see people who I shared many moments with caring about me," added Castano, who made her Fed Cup debut as a 16-year-old.
"I live day by day because with cancer you never know when everything suddenly ends.
"I hope to recover as soon as possible and from there I will see what I'll do. For sure something related to tennis because tennis is my passion," she added.