Dinara Safina: I thought being No. 1 was going to be fun but it's the opposite

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Dinara Safina: I thought being No. 1 was going to be fun but it's the opposite

Former World No. 1 Dinara Safina says that she was very disappointed when she became World No. 1 because she did not expect the pressure that comes with being the top-ranked player in the world.

Dinara Safina says tennis disappointed me

The 33 year old Russian spoke to The Guardian in an interview in which she said becoming No.

1 left her disappointed because she could not handle her emotions and the pressures that came with it. “If I would be able to start from the beginning of my career, maybe, but I don’t feel like coming back to the tour.

It’s something that I guess is very deep. I think I got disappointed in some way by tennis, because I dreamed that once you become really famous, you become No 1 in the world, you would have a different life. But once you have this, everything, and you realise that it’s not what you’ve been dreaming of, then all your dreams fall apart.

I couldn’t handle my emotions and all these things, and for me that’s why it was tough”. Safina says she thought she would be happy to fulfill her dream of becoming World No. 1 but her experience was the opposite.

"I always had a dream to be famous, No 1 and all this, but then suddenly I felt so much pressure being there. I didn’t expect that I would have this pressure. I thought it was going to be fun, you know? You become famous, you become No 1.

And everybody is happy. It’s actually the opposite! Everybody wants to beat you”. The Russian says she was also not prepared for life after retirement but wants to get into coaching so that she can help other players.

"[Retirement] was different. Completely different, which I was also not ready for. I don’t start to make a drama out of it. Well, that’s my journey, anyway we only have one life. And that’s it. So why not try everything? For all the experiences that I went through while I was struggling, I don’t want players that I coach to feel like that.

I want them to understand that tennis is a beautiful life. It’s so much joy and even the hard work should be a joy. It’s fun and it’s a short period of life. I want to teach the players not to make the same mistakes I’ve made."

Dinara Safina was the runner-up in singles at the 2008 French Open, 2009 Australian Open, and the 2009 French Open. She won the 2007 US Open doubles title with Nathalie Dechy and also won the Olympic silver medal in women's singles at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Safina officially retired from the sport in 2014 after a lengthy absence from the tour since 2011 due to a back injury.