Sport and Depression: the story of Rebecca Marino - UBITENNIS
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Sport and Depression: the story of Rebecca Marino

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TENNIS – The name of Rebecca Marino first appeared as a pleasant surprise at the 2010 US Open. After a meteoric rise the Canadian struggled with depression and decided to retire at the age of 22. Later in 2013, Marino decided to give a public speech. Giulio Gasparin

 

The name of Rebecca Marino first appeared as a pleasant surprise in 2010, when this 20 year old Canadian qualifier defeated in the first round of the US Open Ksenia Pervak and then pulled a great fight with Venus Williams in round two.

For some 10 months, she has been climbing the ranking fast, showing great talent and conquering the hearts of many fans on the way.

In 2011, she reached her first, and only, WTA final in Memphis and later the same year, she reached a career best ranking at world number 38.

Then suddenly something happened and, one loss after another, she started to disappear as fast as she arrived.

Coming back to Memphis in 2012, she had a final to defend, but, in one of these strange coincidences of life, she lost to the player she beat when it all started: Pervak.

She took a long break from tennis after this loss, attempting a timid comeback later in the year, but when in 2013 she lost in the first round of the qualifications in Memphis, she decided she had enough.

Still aged 22, she retired from professional tennis, but in doing so, she decided to reveal what pushed her to this decision: she had been fighting depression for six years and now could not cope anymore with both the harassment from social media users and what was written about her in the press.

“Things were being written about me, and I’m quite sensitive about that, and I’m quite nosy, so I’ll look it up and then I’ll realize I shouldn’t have looked it up,” she revealed last year to the New York Times.

“With professional athletes, people put them on a pedestal sometimes, and they forget that they’re actually a person still.

“They’ll say, ‘You gave that match away, you cost me such-and-such amount of money, you should go burn in hell,’ or ‘You should go die,’ And oh, my gosh, that is really scary.

“You know, there’s that saying ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me,’ But that’s not true. Names definitely hurt. Words hurt.”

Later in 2013, Marino decided to give a public speech on the Canadian channel TEDxVictoria, which is uploaded on Youtube and you can watch below.

Her story assumed then a wider value, as it gave voice to a topic that for long has been a taboo in sport: depression.

In a society that tends to idolize athletes and giving them a role model to follow, it is often forgotten how they are first of all people and they are vulnerable like everyone else. It may seem hard to believe, but clinical depression cannot be won even by awards and victories, like the recent story of cross country star, world and Olympic champion, Justyna Kowalczyk testifies.

It is very hard to spot depression from the outside, as it can be hidden behind a façade of smiles and fake normality, for this reason the speech of Marino has signed a fundamental step towards a bigger awareness of the problem, even in sport.

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Elena Rybakina fights back from one set down to beat Sofia Kenin in Dubai

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Elina Rybakina came back from one set down to beat this year’s Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 6-3 on Centre Court at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

 

Rybakina overcame a slow start to score her third win over a top 10 player.

Rybakina hit 25 winners to 5 unforced errors. Kenin earned her first break in the opening game. Rybakina converted her third break point in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. Kenin won five consecutive games from 2-2 to seal the opening set 7-2.

Rybakina was never broken in the second and third sets and broke serve in the seventh and ninth games of the second set and in the eighth games of the third set.

“I have worked a lot, and it’s amazing that I managed to win today. I just finished a tournament, and I only came here one day before this match, so I am happy. I prepared myself like I will win. I tried to do my best, but I was not nervous. Of course I believed. I did not think that she just won the Australian Open because I know that now everyone could beat everyone. I did not think about this”, said Rybakina.

 

 

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Jennifer Brady cruises past Elina Svitolina in Dubai

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US qualifier Jennifer Brady upset 2017 and 2018 Dubai champion Elina Svitolina 6-2 6-1 in one hour at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Brady hit three consecutive backhand to hold serve. She did not face any other break point in the rest of the first set and won nine consecutive games.

 

Brady broke Svitolina in the sixth game with a bakhand down the line and in the eighth game, as Svitolina sent a backhand into the net.

Brady earned two consecutive breaks in the second game of the second set to open up a 4-0 lead. Brady wasted a 40-0 lead on her serve in the fifth game. Svitolina pulled one of the two breaks back, but she dropped her serve for the third time. As Brady was serving for the match, she came back from 0-30 down and sealed the win with her fifth ace.

Kristina Mladenovic reached the second round with a 6-4 6-3 win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Sasnovich held a 4-1 record in her five head-to-head matches and won all their three previous clashes played on hard-court.

The first set was marked by seven breaks in the first ten games. Sasnovich went up a break three times, but Mladenovic broke back each time to draw level to 4-4. Mladenovic closed out the first set with a break in the 10th game thanks to an inside-out forehand return.

Mladenovic opened up a 3-0 lead with a break in the second game and closed out the second set on her third match point with a forehand winner with a forehand winner after 1 hour and 33 minutes. The French player set up a second round match against Karolina Pliskova in a re-match of the first round match at the Australian Open. Pliskova beat Mladenovic in straight sets, but the the French player scored a 6-4 6-2 in their first clsh played in Dubai in 2017.

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Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova rallies from slow start to beat Belinda Bencic in Dubai

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Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova came back from one set down to beat defending champion Belinda Bencic 1-6 6-1 6-1 in 1 hour and 30 minutes reaching the second round at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

 

Bencic reeled off the first 19 points of the match to win seven of the first eight games of the match. Pavlyuchenkova bounced back by winning 12 of the last 13 games to clinch her 15th career top 5 win. The Russian player clinched only the second of her six head-to-head matches against Bencic and her first victory against her Swiss rival since Washington 2015. Bencic had won her past three clashes against Pavlyuchenkova at the 2018 Hopman Cup, at Wimbledon 2019 and in the Moscow final 2019.

Bencic earned her first break in the second game after four consecutive unforced errors from Pavlyuchenkova. The Swiss player went up a double break to open up a 4-0 after Pavlyuchenkova made three double faults.

Pavlyuchenkova stopped a losing streak of 19 consecutive points in the fifth game at 15-40 down, but Bencic held her service game at deuce. Bencic missed a point for the bagel, as Pavlyuchenkova won her first game with a service winner. Bencic served out the first set in the next game with consecutive unreturned serves.

Bencic earned an early break at the start of the second set after two double faults from Pavlyuchenkova. The Russian player turned around the match by winning six consecutive games to win the second set 6-1.

Pavlyuchenkova broke at love in the second game and earned the second and third breaks in two deuce games. Pavlyuchenova won a return game for 5-1 with a drive volley and served out on his first set point, as Bencic sent her pass long.

Pavlyuchenkova earned an immediate break with three consecutive winners. The Russian player, who reached the final in Osaka and Moscow, went up a double break to take a 3-0 lead. Bencic pulled back one of the two breaks in the fourth game. Pavlyuchenova broke for the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead. She broke Benci for the seventh consecutive time, as Bencic hit her backhand in the net.

“As soon as I won one or two points, I was like right, this is something I need to keep doing. I was trying to realize why I won it, what did I do right. I was just trying to find that rhythm”, said Pavlyuchenkova.

 

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