HE’S an inspiration to tennis players and, indeed, sports people everywhere - and it’s not a reference to Wimbledon champion Jonny Marray this time!
Step forward Christos Liaskos, tennis player and coach and now back on a tennis court just months after a double lung transplant.
Brave Christos continues his remarkable comeback towards sporting normality by competing in the Sheffield and District Tennis Championships this week and says he feels ‘amazing’ now and is just delighted to be back playing and coaching the sport he loves.
The 23-year-old, who turns 24 next week, was born with cystic fibrosis.
“It’s a condition that gets gradually worse and you either have a transplant or you don’t,” said Christos who lives at Ecclesall and is a tennis coach at Grove Tennis Club.
“It was getting worse and I was down to 25 per cent capacity in my lungs and I decided I’d have a transplant.
“When you have this (condition) you have to try and keep as fit as you can, they say exercise is the best medicine, so I was playing tennis and trying to keep as fit as possible.”
However, he eventually became too ill and had to stop his tennis for two years.
After a 15 month wait, he was admitted to Cambridge’s Papworth Hospital at the end of December and underwent an 8 hour operation to replace both lungs. He later had further surgery over four hours after a problem arose.
“I was never worried,” he said. “The after-care was brilliant and they had me on an exercise bike two days later.”
He rebuilt his fitness and was delighted when, three months after his major surgery, he was back on a tennis court. I’m still getting worn out but I’m much better than I was before,” he said.
This week he is among the competitors at the city’s tennis tournament for its leading clubs and, on Sunday, had a challenging day when he played five sets of singles.
“I was able to run around ok but I did feel it afterwards although it was my legs as much as anything,” he chuckled.
Although he has been knocked out of the men’s singles, he has reached the semi-finals of the Singles Handicap event.
“It’s helped give me a whole new outlook and I’m feeling better all the time,” he said. n See P2 for for transplant list story.