‘It’s the place I belong’: Canada’s Rebecca Marino prepared for return to tennis

TORONTO — The street again to tennis prominence won’t be a glamorous one for Rebecca Marino, and he or she’s tremendous with that.

Her comeback path will embrace a number of stops at low-level tournaments, a giant change from her days taking part in on Grand Slam showcase courts. Marino feels able to play aggressive tennis once more after a four-year absence and is placing the work in forward of her return.

“I’ve to start out proper again originally with $15,000 tournaments and see the place I can get in,” Marino mentioned. “I’ll undergo qualifying and I’m OK with it.

“I can grind it out. I’ve executed it earlier than.”

Vancouver’s Marino was planning to play in two Challenger tournaments this fall however an ITF regulation subject pushed her return date to the winter. She was nonetheless readily available for an occasion this week in north Toronto, serving as a hitting companion at instances whereas squeezing in apply periods of her personal.

“I like being again and hitting once more,” she mentioned. “It feels (a bit) like no time has handed by, which is unusual as a result of clearly it’s been like 4 years.

“However I at all times knew I cherished tennis and to be again on the court docket coaching and dealing arduous, I feel it’s the place I belong.”

A former world No. 38, her sport appears to be like prefer it did earlier than she left the game after revealing her battle with despair. She labored on her bodily and psychological well-being throughout her time away, studied English literature, and competed on the varsity rowing group on the College of British Columbia.

Marino additionally did some part-time tennis teaching on the aspect. It helped stoke her curiosity in a return to the game.

“I noticed that I preferred taking part in much more than teaching,” she mentioned. “I received the bug slowly and I take into consideration the top of August, I made a decision I wished to come back again to tennis once more.”

Marino received three Challenger occasions in a row in 2010 and had a memorable second-round match with Venus Williams on the U.S. Open that yr. She was simply 19 on the time and never completely prepared for the challenges of life on tour and being away from household and associates.

“I kind of misplaced plenty of connections that means, which I’ve regained and I feel I can keep now,” Marino mentioned. “I additionally assume I felt like I used to be lacking out on plenty of issues again house, which now I notice I wasn’t. And likewise I wasn’t one to be within the media, I type of shied away from the highlight and to be thrust in it in a short time was very troublesome for me.

“In fact now I understand how to deal with it slightly bit higher having gone by it.”

She cracked the highest 40 on the earth rankings in 2011 and reached the third spherical of the French Open. However her despair received to the purpose the place Marino couldn’t get off the bed some days.

She took a seven-month break in 2012 to hunt remedy, however her ardour for the game was not there when she got here again.

Marino felt remoted and much away from supporters when she was on tour. Cyber-bullying additionally made issues troublesome.

“After I was on the court docket and in my aspect there I at all times felt like I used to be zoned in,” she mentioned. “I don’t assume I used to be ever out of it with the tennis. It was extra that I’d be at these large occasions after which I’d need to take care of the outside issues. That was the arduous half.”

Canadian tennis participant Rebecca Marino practises in Toronto on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. Christopher Katsarov / The Canadian Press

Marino, now 26, is comfy speaking about her story though she’s not essentially seeking to bounce again into the highlight.

“I feel I’ve discovered I’m fairly resilient,” she mentioned. “I’ve gone by so much at such a younger age. I’ve lived a number of lives, it looks like.

“(However) I feel I’ve discovered that I’ve a fairly cool life.”

A shy, quiet sort, Marino feels she’s a “extra dynamic particular person” with plenty of expertise to attract on.

“I feel I’m slightly bit extra mature now,” she mentioned. “Undoubtedly mentally extra mature. Having gone by my tutorial research too, I feel that has broadened my perspective. I don’t assume there’s an excessive amount of totally different. I nonetheless really feel fairly match and if I didn’t assume I might do that now, I wouldn’t.”

At simply over six toes tall, Marino has vary and energy on the court docket. Her serve nonetheless seems to be an incredible weapon and her floor strokes are potent.

Marino has but to finalize her schedule however will want a base of three tournaments to get a rating.

“It’s undoubtedly extra in regards to the course of than in regards to the finish end result for me proper now,” she mentioned.

This time round, Marino plans to restrict her on-line exercise and never interact in social media. She famous that she’s not afraid of it — stating it may be a very good advertising and marketing device — however doesn’t actually need it proper now.

“I might be fairly delicate simply because that’s my nature,” she mentioned. “Others are extra tolerant of it. I’m OK with it now. I feel social media and its makes use of (have been) fairly new again perhaps six years in the past or so.

“I didn’t actually know the way to deal with it. Individuals know what’s coming with it now.”

Marino’s unique plan as an adolescent was to pursue tennis on the college degree, however her early success on tour postponed these tutorial pursuits.

“I’m recent and I really feel that mentally I’m in a greater spot proper now and I’d be capable of deal with a number of the issues that include the lifetime of being knowledgeable athlete,” she mentioned. “I wasn’t actually ready for it the primary time round. I assumed I used to be going to go to college on a scholarship, and issues type of (accelerated) in a short time.

“I additionally assume having executed it earlier than, I do know what’s coming, so I feel I’ve an edge that means.”

It additionally feels good to have the aggressive juices flowing as soon as once more, she mentioned.

“I’m excited and I’m additionally slightly nervous,” Marino mentioned. “I feel that’s completely regular to be nervous. It signifies that it means one thing to me. I can’t wait to get again on court docket for that first match.”

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