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.

WTA

Naomi Osaka Ends Title Drought With Pan Pacific Open Win

The 21-year-old has captured her fourth WTA title in the city where she was born.

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Naomi Osaka (image via https://twitter.com/torayppo)

Former world No.1 Naomi Osaka has returned back to the winner’s circle after easing to the Pan Pacific Open title on Sunday with a straight sets win.

 

The two-time grand slam champion disposed of Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-3, in just 70 minutes. Claiming her first title of any sort since winning the Australian Open in January. Osaka was dominant behind her serve throughout the final. Winning all 20 of her first service points and dropping just six points behind her second. The top seed hit 22 winners to 12 unforced errors and broke Pavlyuchenkova three times.

“It is really special for me to win here (in Osaka). This is the city where I was born. I think that gave me a lot of power to play constantly match after match.” Said the new champion.

Prior to this week, the 21-year-old hadn’t progressed beyond the quarter-final stage of a tournament since April. She managed to end that trend on Saturday after being forced to play two matches due to poor weather affecting the tournament schedule. Recording wins over Yulia Putintseva and Elise Mertens. Osaka didn’t drop a single set in the entire tournament.

“I just wanted to win this really bad,” Osaka stated during her Sunday press conference.
“I think what I learned from this tournament is just to focus every point, and just to have really positive energy,” she later added.

There is also reason to celebrate for runner-up Pavlyuchenkova, who is yet to win a WTA title in Asia. This week is the first time she has reached a WTA final in 15 months. Last doing so at the 2018 Internationaux de Strasbourg in France. Earlier in the tournament she knocked out second seed Kiki Bertens and fourth seed Angelique Kerber.

“It is not the trophy you want standing here, but it has still been an amazing week.” The Russian reflected during the trophy ceremony.
“Congratulations Naomi you were really good today and played the better tennis.”

Osaka is the first Japanese player to win the Pan Pacific Open since Kimiko Date back in 1995. She exits the tournament with 470 ranking points and $137,125 in prize money.

https://twitter.com/WTA/status/1175671466496593921

 

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Sam Stosur Produces Comeback To Reach First WTA Final For 28 Months In Guangzhou

Sam Stosur reached her first WTA final for two and a half years with a three set win over Viktorija Golubic in Guangzhou.

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Sam Stosur (@TennisChannel - Twitter)

Sam Stosur came from a set down to beat Viktorija Golubic 2-6 7-6(4) 6-1 to reach her first WTA final in two and a half years. 

 

After losing the first set in comfortable fashion and surrendering her early break lead in the second set, the Australian fought back to reach the Guangzhou final.

The win means that Stosur will now compete in her first WTA final for two and a half years, when she won the Strasbourg title in 2017.

Speaking after the match the former US Open was delighted with the way she rallied back into the contest, “I just tried to hang in there and find a way to start playing a bit better,” she told the WTA website.

“She’s very tough to play against so I’m just happy to get through. This is where everyone wants to be, so to now make it to the final, I’m really happy and I’ll give it my best shot tomorrow.”

Having reached the final, she will now re-enter the world’s top 100 and compete for the 10th title of her career, which would be her first on hard courts since 2014.

Standing in Stosur’s way will be world number 20 Sofia Kenin after the American edged out Anna Blinkova 7-6(5) 4-6 6-1 in a tight contest.

Six breaks of serve was enough for Kenin as she aims to win her third title of the season having won in Hobart and Mallorca this season.

Seeds Deliver In Seoul As Rain Halts Play In Osaka

Meanwhile in the Seoul, the seeds managed to deliver to book their spots in the semi-finals. Yafan Wang, Karolina Muchova and Magda Linette all cruised into the last four in South Korea.

Although second seed Ekaterina Alexandrova had to survive a big scare against in-form Kristie Ahn with the Russian edging through 6-7(0) 6-4 6-4.

However there was a bleak day in Osaka, Japan where only one match was completed as three of the quarter-finals will have to be played tomorrow.

The one result saw Angelique Kerber reach the semi-finals having lead Madison Keys 6-4 4-6 2-1 before the American retired.

Tomorrow will be Kerber’s first WTA semi-final since reaching the final in Eastbourne in June.

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Serena Williams Confident In Bid For Grand Slam History Claims Patrick Mouratoglou

Patrick Mouratoglou says that Serena Williams is confident of another grand slam victory despite recent setbacks.

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Serena Williams and Patrick Mouratoglou (@BBCSport - Twitter)

Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou has claimed that the American is confident in her bid for more grand slam history. 

 

Despite the American not winning a set in her last four grand slam finals, Serena’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou has claimed that she is still confident in winning another grand slam again.

Serena’s last grand slam win was at the Australian Open in 2017 before taking a break from the sport to become a mother.

Although it has been a struggle, Mouratoglou believes time is on the 37 year old’s side, “I think time is working for her,” the Frenchman told Sky Sports.

“I think she was much better at the US Open than she was at Wimbledon and Wimbledon better than Roland Garros. 

“She is getting back in shape and the more in shape she will be the more dangerous she will be. I think she has started to play really good tennis.”

Losses to Angelique Kerber, Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep and Bianca Andreescu have exposed Serena’s lack of confidence and how nervous she is in the grand slam finals.

However Mouratoglou believes that Serena’s historic moment will come sooner rather than later, “It is one match for history and the pressure is quite high,” he said.

“I am not in her mind but I can figure she is playing one match for history. This is the highest pressure anyone can have in life and on the other side of the court she plays girls who have zero pressure because it is their first final.

“They are going to play many [Grand Slams], they are young, they are excited, enthusiastic so they play without pressure and that makes a big difference. But at some point she will figure out how to deal with that.”

Serena’s next tournament is scheduled to be the WTA Finals in Shenzhen in late October, should she qualify although there is a good possibility that we won’t be seeing on a tennis court until next year.

Will 2020 be the year that Serena finally figures out how to deal with the pressure of creating more history for herself? Only time will tell.

 

 

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