Tennis can be a very difficult sport from a mental point of view. Despite frequent trips to wonderful places and the opportunity to perform in front of a large audience, it is not uncommon for a professional tennis player to deal with loneliness.
The mental health issue of tennis players is not discussed as it deserves. In the past, when some players came out in the open, they were accused of being weak. Slowly, the situation seems to be improving.
Federer on the importance of mental health
“We shouldn't forget the players who suffer from mental health problems," Roger Federer said recently.
"It is important that we do not underestimate the importance of mental health in our sport." The Swiss Maestro vouched for care and sensitivity in this respect, more so in these COVID-19 stricken times when the world yearns for a fresh start.
"It isn't easy (to deal with). It is important that we do not underestimate the importance of mental health in our sport. We need to show support to each other. Maybe it's a fresh start that people and the world needs," the former World number 1 explained.
Mental health issues came to the fore when former Top 10 Mardy Fish was unable to take to the court against Federer for their fourth round match at the 2012 US Open. The American was suffering from tachycardia and managed to calm down only after his wife convinced him not to play.
Although Fish did not admit it at the time, it was later revealed that he suffered from anxiety and depression. "In our sport we were always told that weakness is a shame. Probably many feel the same way, after all every fifth (player) suffers from fear.
It is a warning sign of the body that prepares it: for flight or fight," Fish said. "Life in tennis consists of more than playing in front of an audience and traveling to places of longing. It is characterised by routines.
The same cities, the same stadiums, the same airports, the same hotels and questions. And there are always fears, worries, loneliness, the inner demons in the luggage," he added. Lockdown restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic continue to cause havoc with tennis, with both the ATP and WTA Tours still suspended.