Former world number 21 Thomaz Bellucci believes that overwhelming pressure and expectations are the main reason why tennis players often struggle and experience depression. Bellucci, 35, turned professional in 2005 and wrapped up his professional tennis career at the Rio Open this week.
Throughout his career, Bellucci experienced ups and downs. Between 2009 and 2012, Bellucci won three ATP titles and in 2010 he achieved a career-high ranking of 21st. Bellucci, who captured his fourth and final ATP title in 2015, was not very successful in his later years on Tour. . since he mainly played at the Challenger level.
Bellucci on why tennis players often experience depression
“The best streak of my career was between 2010 and 2011. I played better in the big tournaments. At that time I thought less, had fewer worries, played freely and didn’t have so much pressure.
Then I began to think a little more, to doubt myself. I was always accompanied by psychologists who helped me improve my decision-making on and off the pitch. It was not easy to find the balance between the personal and the professional in a sport like tennis.
That is why you see so many players with depression problems, they are not well no matter how much money they have or good results. For me the main thing was to take care of myself, to be mentally healthy and to be happy. I often felt depressed.
It happens to many tennis players because there is a lot of pressure and expectations. Over time you realize that the most important thing is not what people think of you. There are people who do not value you. The most important thing is not the approval of others, but to be happy on the pitch,» Bellucci said, according to break point.
On Wednesday, Bellucci suffered a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Sebastián Báez in the first round of the Rio Open. Bellucci wanted to say goodbye to tennis in front of his hometown fans, and the organizers of the Rio Open granted his wish by handing him a wild card into the main draw.