American Danielle Collins says she feels grateful to be able to play professional tennis for a living, especially after a difficult year in 2019 when she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, while speaking to the press in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open.
Collins, ranked No. 27 in the world and a semi-finalist here in 2019, says, "It’s been awesome having a full team and I’m really thankful that I’m able to do it and being able to get all of the assistance that I need this year because last year was honestly a complete disaster, with the coaching situations, the constant changing, and just not getting what I needed.
I think I have a pretty positive outlook on my career. I’m relatively new to the tour, so there’s been a lot of figuring out what works and scheduling and getting used to the travel. I think I have a positive outlook on my career and I feel very grateful to be able to play professional tennis for a living, getting to do what I love consistently and perform, I’m very grateful”.
Speaking about her form heading into the Australian Open, Collins says, "I think my game is at a really high level right now. I’ve been putting in a lot of hard work and it’s clearly paying off. The biggest thing is I’m healthy this year, I was not healthy last year.
Having that diagnosis is not something any athlete wants to deal with. Luckily I’ve been able to come out on the other side of it and I’ve been feeling really well and I’m actually feeling like a normal person again and that’s the biggest thing, it’s just feeling more consistent and not dealing with the pain”.
Collins also says that speaking to former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, who was also diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, helped her tremendously. “She’s a really great person and I’m really grateful for the conversation that we had.
It’s not an easy thing to deal with. I don’t know many people that have rheumatoid arthritis, so it was kind of interesting that we both ended up having the same disease. It was good to talk to her about that." The American will start in Melbourne against Russian Vitalia Diatchenko in the first round.