Maria Sakkari's revelation about feeling scared, panic attacks & dark 6-month period

Sakkari opened up in Netflix's tennis documentary 'Break Point.'

by Dzevad Mesic
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Maria Sakkari's revelation about feeling scared, panic attacks & dark 6-month period
© Getty Images Sport - Minas Panagiotakis

Maria Sakkari, 28, revealed in Netflix's tennis documentary "Break Point" that there was a dark six-month period, during which she felt "scared" on the court and started getting "panic attacks," which led to difficulties with breathing. 

On Wednesday, Season 2 of Break Point aired on Netflix. World No. 8 Sakkari, who was featured in Season 1 of the documentary, returned in Season 2 and provided even more details on her career. 

After Ashleigh Barty shockingly retired at 25 in 2022 March, Sakkari and Iga Swiatek had the best shot at replacing the Australian at the world No. 1 spot after the 2022 Miami Open. During that tournament, Sakkari lost early but that was also the period when she reached a career-high ranking of No. 3 in the world.

During a conversation with Anett Kontaveit at 2023 Wimbledon, Sakkari was filmed describing tennis as "a brutal sport" and admitting to the Estonian that she "lost her mind a little" when she came close to reaching the top spot. Also, Sakkari admitted that she "was not ready for the idea of being that close to No. 1"

Maria Sakkari
Maria Sakkari© Getty Images Sport - Emmanuel Wong
 

Sakkari experienced panic attacks, contemplated retirement

"Then I just started getting all of these panic attacks and there were just matches that I couldn’t breathe. I thought I was going to faint and it wasn’t a pleasant feeling. I was in a dark place for six months. I was just mentally and emotionally empty. I was scared stepping on the court," Sakkari added. 

“I have all these people saying that when I get to the later stages of a tournament, I’m guaranteed to lose. That gets in your head. Because of this, I’ve had many tough moments.”

Maria Sakkari
Maria Sakkari© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill
 

During her conversation with Kontaveit, Sakkari also confessed that there were moments when she would think of walking away from pro tennis. While revealing that to Kontaveit, Sakkari admitted she was not ready to finish her career because she hadn't fulfilled her tennis goals.

After a rough and challenging 2023, Sakkari bounced back by winning her first WTA 1000 title in Guadalajara, reaching the Tokyo semifinal, and making the ATP Finals. Later in the documentary, Sakkari credited work with a sports psychologist for turning around her situation and revealed that she was focusing on more positive things on the court and life.

Maria Sakkari
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