Mental Health and Tennis

AP/Lynne Sladky, file

Mental Health and Tennis

It’s no secret that many touring tennis pros can suffer from mental health struggles in this sport. It’s a lonely game – with nonstop travel, endless endorsements, media commitments, strict regimens, and many people counting on you for a paycheck. Add to that practically no real social life and/or quality time with family and friends during the year. The pro tours on both the women’s side and men’s side are relentless, lasting almost 50 weeks of the year. That’s just two weeks off in the off-season! So, with all these factors coming into play during the year, is it a surprise that players can be mentally fatigued from the tour?

The tour was already taxing enough, and then Covid showed up, halting major tournaments, and then starting them up again with a myriad of protocols and restrictions. Players were asked to isolate, test, and cut their entourages short. Many top players such as Kenin, Monfils, and Paire publicly admitted the strain that all this brought to their performances. Take Monfils, for example. Monfils was on the cusp of another brilliant season right before the pandemic began and then did not win a match for months during Covid. It was nice to see him win his first match at Roland Garros. However, it was painful to see him break down at a press conference after one of his losses earlier this year.

Where some players struggled, others flourished under the new look Covid ATP and WTA tours. However, is that really fair? This brings us to the whole Osaka situation. Sure, the press conferences are part of their job, but given all the stuff these poor players have been through in the last few months, can we accommodate them just a tiny bit? They are tired, both mentally and physically, and then are asked to perform at the highest levels. Maybe we can give them a little bit of a break.

And also, let’s remember, most sports have true offseasons, where players can unwind, go home, relax, and spend quality time with family and friends. Some of these off-season’s can last three months. Imagine if tennis players had the same luxury?

Like always, don’t forget to jump on to the TennisPAL app to stay up to date on tennis news, find groups of friends to play with, and get a virtual coach to help with your tennis game.

 

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