At her peak in 2011, Canadian tennis player Rebecca Marino was ranked No. 38 in the world and made it to the third round of the French Open. Then, in February of 2012, she briefly left the game to go back home to her family in Vancouver. Upon her return in the fall, she took home $25,000 at the Rock Hill Challenger event for winning the singles tournament. But earlier today, she released a statement announcing her retirement from the game.
Via the Toronto Star:
“‘I have decided to step away from tennis,'” Marino, 22, said in a statement issued by Tennis Canada on Wednesday. ‘This was not an easy decision, but there are a number of factors that have led me to this.'”
So what cut her young career short, exactly? You might be thinking injury or other serious health issues, but you’d be wrong. No, this one’s a bit simpler: she can’t handle internet criticism. On Sunday, she told the New York Times that she has trouble coping, and would seek out comments about herself on the internet. And, as she came to discover, the internet is a cestpool for negative things.
“Marino said what bothered her most were messages sent via Twitter by people angry because they said they had lost money betting on her matches.
‘They’ll say, ‘You gave that match away, you cost me such-and-such amount of money, you should go burn in hell,’ or ‘You should go die,'” Marino said. ‘And, oh my gosh, that is really scary.’
‘You know, there’s that saying ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me’ But that’s not true. Names definitely hurt. Words hurt.'”
Though she did not expressly admit her retirement intentions, the hint that she could step away once more loomed. With her announcement today, that confirmation came.
Now, you’re probably thinking that she’s being a bit sensitive; after all, she’s a professional tennis player, and few have that opportunity. And if that means having to ward off hoards of internet trolls poking holes in her personal confidence, so be it. Marino, however, doesn’t it see it that way.
“Some people think I’m too sensitive. I disagree; I’m just being human.”
On Monday, she deleted both her Twitter and Facebook accounts, and now appears perfectly comfortable receding back into anonymity. She did admit to dealing with depression for years, which the internet undoubtedly exacerbated, and did not rule out a return to the sport sometime down the line. Still, it appears that tennis will be put on the back burner until she can sort through her own personal issues.