After battling depression in life after tennis, Dinara Safina pursues a coaching career


It’s been more than eight years since Dinara Safina played her last WTA match at the 2011 Madrid Open against Julia Goerges. Even though she hasn’t won a Grand Slam, the Russian was among the most dominant players a decade ago — the younger sister of former world No.1 men’s player Marat Safin played three Grand Slam finals, reached the number one ranking in April 2009, clinched 12 WTA titles and won the Olympic silver medal in women’s singles at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Dinara Safina
Photo courtesy of Neal Trousdale.

It’s a known fact that most players struggle to find a new purpose in life once they leave the hectic tennis schedule, as they abruptly change the only way of life they know. While her brother enjoys being single and doing nothing, as he said in an intriguing interview not so long ago, the 33-year-old Dinara has battled depression and feelings of loneliness when she faced the lack of competitive thrill and a sudden drop in popularity.

Talking to Behind the Racquet, Dinara said:

I think this happens quite often to players after they retire, they struggle with depression. One of the main reasons is because you go from playing on tour, the center of attention, to just another person. When I was number one in the world, everyone was gathering around me, wanting to just get a piece of me. Now it seems like many don’t really care. I have even tried multiple times to approach the president of our tennis federation to see if I could be a part of helping the next generation and they never contact me back.

Despite witnessing a lot of her colleagues returning to pro tennis, even after over a decade of being away from the sport, Dinara doesn’t have those ambitions, although she would like to be a coach:

I still do not see myself coming back on tour like Kim Clijsters or Tatiana Golovin, but I can definitely see myself coaching and sharing my experiences with another player.

Even though she’s recently finished her law degree, Dinara still has her mind on tennis, so she’s directly approaching players and agents in order to hopefully start her coaching career. Dinara was one of the most likable personalities on the WTA tour and I’d certainly love to see her back, in the coaching role, as soon as possible.


  1. I disagree, i dont find Safina is likeable player on tour. She was very temperamental on court if things didnt go her ways..
    On top of that she reached #1 without winning a slam, which I think she was very undeserving to be in that position (just like Jankovic)…
    But i do see her as a better coach than a player.

  2. Ric, Jankovic used to be my most favorite player. That period was sort of a Slamless No.1 era, if you remember. Wozniacki was also in that group, until she added the Aussie Open title in 2018 years later (8 years after becoming No.1).

  3. I agee with you Marija! Safina is a very charismatic and likeable player in my opinion. I hope she will lead a new talent to her/his first Grand Slam. Sorry for my bad English. 😉

  4. @ric were you on tour with her and the other ladies? the author is not talking about whether whether you find her likeable but rather her peers. just because she was temperamental on court, mind you a lot of tennis players are, doesn’t mean she wasn’t a likeable character off court. Watch her retirement ceremony.

    Also, there is more to becoming number 1 and not only grand slams. Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki are players who reached number 1 long before winning the slams. Unfortunately for Dinara, injuries hampered her career and she couldn’t get that slam. Marcelo Rios, considered by some to be the greatest male player to never win a slam, reached number 1. He didn’t deserve it?

    At her prime, she was a beast of a player.


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