Speaking to BehindTheRacquet.com, former world number 10, Daria Kasatkina revealed all ups and downs of her career on the WTA circuit.

The 23-years-old Russian enjoyed the best year of her career back in 2018. Back then, Kasatkina triumphed in Moscow and finished the year as world number 10. One year later, she dropped to 70th place and up until now, she did not manage to come back to the top. Now, she spoke about her whole career, when she said:

“I finished 2018 ranked in the Top 10. The beginning of 2019 was very tough because everyone had high expectations. Meanwhile, I had split from my coach and most of my team. I did not have a practice partner so I could not prepare well for matches. I was alone, traveling to tournaments with only my brother, I was very lost, I wanted to take a break. But I had to play mandatory tournaments because of my ranking. If I chose not to play these events, I had to pay huge fines. So I continued playing but was breaking down,” said Kasatkina.

“Tennis is one of the most difficult sports because you’re alone. Our season is longer than most other sports and we are not financially secure. If you’re not playing tournaments, you don’t earn money. If you do not play well at the main events, you have to earn money somewhere else so you play even more tournaments. At some point, you break down. Most of the professional players reach a point where they cannot do it anymore,” Kasatkina said.

“I wondered if I wanted to quit. But then I thought, ‘If I want to quit now, what am I going to do?’ All of these doubts in your head make you crazy because you love what you do but you are constantly exhausted. I knew if I quit then changed my mind, it would be very difficult to maintain my game. These thoughts broke me,” admitted Kasatkina. “I decided to work with a psychologist and it has been a great experience. I think that many junior players could benefit from working with a psychologist. It is tough to accept that you need help but I realized how important it was to have someone who can always listen, understand, and advise. In tennis, there is a ton of pressure so I think it’s quite important to have this support.”

“Since then, I have rebuilt my team. I am working with Carlos, who is my brother and fitness coach. I am also seeing a psychologist. These people are the wall that holds me up,” Kasatkina said. “This means a lot because in tennis, you are always single and you need to have a support system of people who have your back. This is the most important.”

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“I finished 2018 ranked in the Top 10. The beginning of 2019 was very tough because everyone had high expectations. Meanwhile, I had split from my coach and most of my team. I did not have a practice partner so I could not prepare well for matches. I was alone, traveling to tournaments with only my brother. I was very lost. ⁣⁣I wanted to take a break. But I had to play mandatory tournaments because of my ranking. If I chose not to play these events, I had to pay huge fines. So I continued playing but was breaking down. ⁣⁣ ⁣ Tennis is one of the most difficult sports because you’re alone. Our season is longer than most other sports and we are not financially secure. If you're not playing tournaments, you don't earn money. If you do not play well at the main events, you have to earn money somewhere else so you play even more tournaments. At some point, you break down. Most of the professional players reach a point where they cannot do it anymore.⁣⁣ ⁣ I wondered if I wanted to quit. But then I thought, ‘If I want to quit now, what am I going to do?’ All of these doubts in your head make you crazy because you love what you do but you are constantly exhausted. I knew if I quit then changed my mind, it would be very difficult to maintain my game. These thoughts broke me.⁣⁣ ⁣ I decided to work with a psychologist and it has been a great experience. I think that many junior players could benefit from working with a psychologist. It is tough to accept that you need help but I realized how important it was to have someone who can always listen, understand and advise. In tennis, there is a ton of pressure so I think it's quite important to have this support.⁣⁣ ⁣ Since then, I have rebuilt my team. I am working with Carlos, who is my brother and fitness coach. I am also seeing a psychologist. These people are the wall that holds me up. This means a lot because in tennis, you are always single and you need to have a support system of people who have your back. This is most important.”⁣⁣ @kasatkina #BTR ⁣⁣ Go to behindtheracquet.com for extended stories, podcasts and merch.

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Author: Erik Virostko