In a remarkable display of resilience and determination, 22-year-old tennis sensation Amanda Anisimova returned to the professional tennis circuit at the ASB Classic after an eight-month hiatus.
The young athlete, who took a break from the grueling demands of the sport to address mental health concerns, made an emphatic comeback with a victory against former French Open finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the tournament’s opening round, securing a 7-5, 6-4 win.
Anisimova’s return goes beyond a mere triumph on the court; it symbolizes her fortitude and courage in confronting the mental health challenges that prompted her hiatus.
Amanda Anisimova Discussed Her Struggles
The American tennis star openly discussed her struggles with depression and burnout, showcasing a level of vulnerability rarely seen in the competitive world of professional sports.
This courageous act of sharing deeply personal matters on a public platform reflects Anisimova’s commitment to not only her healing process but also to helping others who may be facing similar challenges.
“I was happy that I could be honest about why I left,” Anisimova stated, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing mental well-being. “If I can help other people in knowing that they are not the only ones struggling, they are not alone in it… taking care of yourself always comes first,” she added.
During her break, Anisimova utilized the time productively, recognizing the need to step back from the sport that had been a significant part of her life. After experiencing her father’s sudden death in 2019, the tennis prodigy embarked on a road trip across America with friends, visited Europe, and even enrolled in college for a semester.
This intentional break provided her with a new perspective on life beyond tennis, contributing to her personal growth and maturity as both a player and an individual.
Reflecting on her time away, Anisimova shared insights into her learning and personal development. “There were a lot of things that I learned over the break that I want to do differently,” she expressed, indicating a transformed approach to her career as she re-entered the professional tennis arena.
Last September, Anisimova gradually reintroduced herself to tennis without setting strict timelines for her return. She focused on mental and physical preparation, easing back into training before resuming full-speed preparations for her triumphant return at the ASB Classic.
The match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova proved challenging, with both players struggling on their serves. However, Anisimova showcased moments of brilliance, particularly on her forehand side, securing a victory after seven breaks in the opening set.
Despite facing muscle spasms and a formidable opponent, Anisimova displayed resilience and prowess, ultimately winning her second match point in the second set. Though physically uncomfortable, her joy to be back on the court was evident. “I didn’t feel too good physically, but I went through it…just having fun every single moment there,” she exclaimed.
Looking ahead, Anisimova continues her inspiring journey in the next round, facing the formidable challenge of Marie Bouzkova, currently ranked fifth and holding the 34th position on the WTA’s world ratings.
Anisimova’s return to professional tennis not only marks her resurgence as a competitive player but also positions her as an advocate for mental health awareness in the intensely competitive world of sports. Her story serves as a beacon of inspiration, emphasizing the importance of self-care and mental well-being in the face of adversity.