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Talking about her return with Rebecca Marino

Oct 18, 2017
written by: Tennis Canada
written by: Tennis Canada
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This week’s good news tennis story comes courtesy Canada’s own Rebecca Marino. The 26-year-old announced that she will be returning to the game following a five year hiatus after bravely revealing her battle with depression, inspiring many who face the same struggles.

RELATED: Rebecca Marino will return to competition

We spoke to Rebecca about her return, what she’s been up to and her new state of mind as she prepares for the second phase of her career.

What was the decision process to make this comeback?

So, I had been coaching for the last few years and I had been involved in tennis, so I never really left. And I think just being around more high-performance players and seeing the Odlum Brown tournament in Vancouver inspired me to start playing again. I figured that now is the best chance that I have so that I don’t regret it later.

How long ago did you start the comeback and what is your schedule for the rest of the year?

I started training again during the first week of September, so it’s been a pretty short and quick training schedule, but I’m just doing it because I enjoy it. I’m going to be playing in Saguenay and Toronto and then start with some lower challengers [South Africa] so that I start with a ranking.

Is there any reason in particular that you chose Saguenay as your first tournament back?

I think it’s just the way that the calendar worked out and I also thought that it would be nice to play in Canada, in tournaments that I have done many times in Saguenay and Toronto. There are obviously many Canadian players that I know, and I will be more comfortable going there than elsewhere.

What memories do you have from Saguenay? You obviously won the tournament in 2010 and are the only Canadian champion of the tournament.

[Laughs]. Really? I didn’t know that. Ok, yeah so definitely some good memories in Saguenay having won it. But it’s not just winning, it’s also the people there who are always very friendly. I stayed in housing there and made some connections and I think that to go back and revisit a place that I hold dear is a good place to start.

Have you set any goals, not necessarily results goals? What are you hoping to achieve?

Yeah, so I don’t have any ranking goals or result goals right now, I just want to go in and enjoy the process and come at it from a different place than I was before. I just want to be happy to be on court and compete, that’s all that matters to me.

How are you different today from when you left the sport?

I definitely feel much happier now. I’ve dealt with some of my mental demons and that was partly the reason that I left tennis before. Ideally, I wouldn’t have liked to stop for that, so I’m glad I get a second chance to finish the way I want to. Or at least start, and then finish. To play tennis the way I want to and to be in it for the right reasons. So definitely maturity and life experience, I’ve worked a couple of jobs, I’ve gone to University, I’ve sort of experienced that life and it makes me appreciate the special tennis life that I had and that I can still have.

Has your game changed at all since the last time you played or do you feel that you picked up right where you left off?

I think that my game is pretty still the same style: big serve, big forehand. I’m trying to work on mobility a little bit. Obviously being a tall player, people are going to pick on that. I’m adding a few more tools to the toolbelt, but it’s still quite early, so it’s hard for me to say if anything is too different, but I’m still trying to hit it hard.

When you spoke openly about your mental struggles, you received a lot of support and a lot of people who were inspired by your story. Actually this week, Chris Evert found out that you were coming back and she was impressed and said that your story was so inspiring. You’ve also spoken about it since you left, you even gave a TED Talk in Vancouver. Do you embrace that kind of role?

Absolutely. I’m always open about mental health and I think that it’s something that a lot of athletes struggle with and still don’t really talk about. I’m definitely open to speak about it more. And it’s something that I still see a psychologist about regularly, who is sort of part of my team now. I’m very happy and I’m enjoying everything that I’m doing in my life. Having that time off gave me perspective. I’m definitely glad that I took the time to become me again.

You did some rowing while you were at UBC. Did that inspire you at all to comeback? Did you miss the competition?

I definitely missed the competition! That’s why I went into rowing. I rowed for two years fairly competitively, maybe not good enough for a national team, but it was high-level rowing. Competing was really fun, but as soon as I picked up a racquet again, I realized that I’m a far better tennis player than I am a rower. The hours are better. Instead of being on the water at 5:30 am, I can train at 9 or 10 am.  [Laughs]. I think that having that sport background really kept me fit during the time off and having the mental tenacity that sport requires definitely kept the spark going.