Canada’s Rebecca Marino is enjoying a return to the WTA Top 100, ten years after mental health struggles led to her rapid decline from a career-high of No.38 to an unexpected retirement at the young age of 22.
As Marino explained in her famous TED Talk in December 2013, nobody was prepared for her stellar rise in 2011, not her, not her parents, not her coaches, not even the tennis association. She had to quickly learn how to deal with media and fans. Traveling non-stop, Marino missed pretty much all important family events and was homesick a lot of the time.
When she sought professional help due to her undefined sadness, she was diagnosed with clinical depression. She continued to compete, but tennis didn’t feel right any more, it felt more as a job, so she decided to quit the sport.
The time away from professional competition helped Marino reconnect with friends and family, pursue other interests and rekindle her love for tennis. The Vancouver native used her retirement to study English literature, compete on the varsity rowing team at the University of British Columbia and do some tennis coaching. Having recharged her batteries, Marino became ready to face the spotlight and realized that she actually wasn’t missing out on things.
Marino started her comeback in early 2018, at the $15,000 GD Tennis Cup in Antalya, Turkey. Four years after initiating her return as an unranked player, and overcoming injuries and the pandemic circumstances on the Tour, Marino celebrates a rise to the No.99 ranking as a more fully developed and mature athlete. The Top 100 re-entry can be viewed as a celebration of the Canadian’s courage to live her life on her own terms.
The 31-year-old Marino’s most notable victories in her second career include upsets of Madison Keys and Paula Badosa at the 2021 National Bank Open in her home country.