Tennis Star Casey Dellacqua Continues Battles On and Off of the Court

Tennis Star Casey Dellacqua Continues Battles On and Off of the Court

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Casey Dellacqua/Sports
Casey Dellacqua/Sports

Tennis has long been recognized as one of the most respectable sports in the world, from the nature and intensity of the game itself to the inclusion and popularity of both the women’s and men’s game. It’s seen as a strong focal point in sport to help young people develop core skills and promote healthy living, such as with former first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative. Stars of tennis have also been promoting social movements, with nine-time Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova announcing her marriage to long-time girlfriend, Julia Lemigova. However, a former star of the sport, Margaret Court, has hit the news on numerous occasions due to her views on homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Thankfully a current star of the sport, Casey Dellacqua – who has been battling her own issues on the court – has had the courage to stand up to her.

Dellacqua Overcoming the Mental Hump

Casey Dellacqua competing in the first round of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships
Casey Dellacqua competing in the first round of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships. Diliff (CC BY 3.0)

In 2015, Casey Dellacqua, fell backwards while trying to make a shot and ended up hitting her head on the cement surface. The injury resulted in her missing out on the WTA Finals – for which she would have qualified with her career-best doubles ranking at fifth – as well as much of 2016. In an interview with Tennis, the star discussed how sustaining the head injury impacted her mentally, especially as it struck her down at the peak of her career: “There was so much emotion involved with making big decisions… I think there’s been a bit of anxiety that’s come along with having the concussion, just in terms of what I’ve gone through.”

This struggle to come to terms with the shock of the injury and the injury itself, a concussion, clearly impacted her play. Dellacqua tried to play in the 2016 San Antonio Open but was crushed in her first game, after which she decided to take her time with her mental and physical recovery. What happened here was that the Australian tennis star ‘choked,’ having suffered a serious injury beforehand. In an exclusive interview with Betway Insider, Andy Murray’s former psychologist, Roberto Forzoni, explained the phenomenon of tennis players choking: “It’s a thought process. Rather than thinking about what you do, you think about the consequence. You look into the ‘what-if’ scenarios.” A concussion is a very difficult injury to overcome and will subsequently make the player more cautious and take further steps to avoid it from re-occurring, which can result in them losing their edge, as Dellacqua did for a while.

Having spent the vast majority of 2016 out, Casey Dellacqua has managed to mount a comeback in 2017, making it to the French Open doubles final – the seventh Grand Slam doubles final of her career. Now the 32-year-old Perth-native is looking to add to her illustrious record of finals appearances. So far, Dellacqua boasts a mixed doubles Grand Slam victory at the French Open in 2011, as well as six titles and 11 runner-ups in WTA finals on all surfaces. Also, on the ITF circuit, she boasts 22 singles and 23 doubles titles victories.

Battles On and Off of the Court for Dellacqua

Casey Dellacqua at the 2008 us open tennis. Dmadeo (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Casey Dellacqua at the 2008 us open tennis. Dmadeo (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The 5’5’’ Australian may have been able to overcome her mental issues spanning from her injury away from the court, but since her return, Casey Dellacqua has been fighting for another cause. Margaret Court has hit the news for her comments about homosexuality and same-sex marriage, being strongly against the latter. So Dellacqua – who is openly gay, married, and has a child with her partner – stepped in to defend same-sex marriage, citing particularly offensive comments written by Court in a newspaper.

Dellacqua was praised by her doubles partner, Ashleigh Barty, for her performances in the French Open this year despite her off-court conflict with Court. The Australian duo was annihilated in the final by the world’s best doubles team of Lucie Safarova and Bethanie Mattek-Sands 1-6 and 2-6. But, as reported by The Weekend Australian, Barty says that Dellacqua was able to perform to her best despite the comments: “It just shows what kind of person ‘Case’ is that she was able to put that aside and still have a clay court season and make the final of a slam.” Continuing to battle off of the court as well as on it shows the mental toughness that Dellacqua has re-found since her injury. Casey Dellacqua has been able to conquer the mental difficulties caused by her freak injury and has been able to deal with adversity targeted at her respectably. As the Australian tennis star continues to make her comeback, hopefully, she’ll be able to overcome her Grand Slam finals juju to take home the ultimate prize in tennis.

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