Man makes plans . . . and God laughs. Tatiana Golovin was among the biggest young talents on the WTA Tour and just as the Frenchwoman, who reached a career-high ranking of No.12 in February 2008, felt that everything was coming together in the 2007/2008 period, everything fell apart. Her career was abruptly shut down by a chronic inflammatory spinal disease at the age of 20 and in a recent interview with The Guardian she talks about the painful realization that the dreams she had worked towards her whole life were shattered and how important was the comeback she made last year after a 11-year hiatus.
The first feelings Golovin felt after her 2008 retirement were shame and helplessness. Tennis was all she knew and she was left without it. Even though at first she swore never to work in tennis again, she accepted a job on French television, but the trauma of her career being distroyed so early and so abruptly never left her:
I think I did go into a bit of denial where you’re just like: ‘OK, I’m going to put it in the back of my head and I’m gonna pretend it never happened. Maybe that’s why I have so many difficulties remembering [my career] actually. It’s still such a trauma in my life to stop at that point of my career and in that way.
After more than a decade away from competitive tennis and two kids later, Golovin first shocked her family, including her partner Hugo Bonneval, and then the entire tennis community that she wanted to make a comeback, encouraged by some new treatments that could help to manage her back condition. The comeback didn’t really take off, as she played just two matches in October 2019 (both were losses), but the fact that she felt like a tennis player again did bring some peace of mind.
Even though we may see the 32-year-old Golovin play again, possibly more likely in doubles first, there is no realistic chance that she can fully revive her career, especially now that she is a mother:
Tennis is supposed to be your whole life. Unfortunately it wasn’t my whole life because I have kids and they’re my number one priority and always will be. I thought I could have two priorities … tennis doesn’t want balance. It has to be your only baby.