‘For about a year I was really depressed’: 16-year-old tennis sensation Coco Gauff opens up on struggles with mental health due to rapid rise as she reveals she had to rediscover love for the game
- Coco Gauff became first 15-year-old in 15 years to break into top 50 of rankings
- She has revealed a battle with depression and need to rediscover love for tennis
- Teenager conceded that she thought about taking a break from sport for a year
- Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal has cast doubt on whether tennis can resume
Coco Gauff has followed in a long line of teenage tennis stars by revealing that the pursuit of success adversely affected her mental health.
The 16-year-old American says she suffered a spell of depression around two years ago, prior to the stunning ascent that saw her become a sensation at Wimbledon last summer.
‘Throughout my life, I was always the youngest to do things, which added hype that I didn’t want,’ she told website Behind The Racquet.
Coco Gauff has opened up on her struggles with mental health due to her rapid rise in tennis
‘It added this pressure that I needed to do well fast. Right before Wimbledon, around 2017-18, I was struggling to figure out if this was really what I wanted. I just found myself not enjoying what I loved.
‘I realised I needed to start playing for myself and not other people. For about a year, I was really depressed. That was the toughest year for me so far.’
The American reached the Wimbledon fourth round in her first Grand Slam outing last summer
Taking a break from tennis was seriously considered. ‘Choosing not to was the right choice but I was close to not going in that direction. I was confused and overthinking if this was what I wanted or what others did.’
Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal has cast doubt on whether the game can resume even at the end of this summer.
‘Tennis is a world sport,’ he told Onda Cero radio in Spain. ‘It seems difficult that a big tournament can be played in the short or medium term.’