New Delhi, Feb 7 (IANS) American tennis player Danielle Collins has opened up about her decision to retire from professional tennis by the end of this season. She revealed her longing for a return to a more ordinary life, away from the incessant travel demands and public scrutiny that come with the sport.
The 30-year-old Collins after her second-round loss to world no. 1 Iga Swiatek at the Australian Open lst month announced the 2024 WTA Tour season would be her final year on tour. On Tuesday in Abu Dhabi after an opening-round, straight-sets win against Naomi Osaka, she elaborated on her decision.
“Earlier this year around the holidays I decided this would be my last season. I’m feeling really happy about it and looking forward to it,” Collins told WTA website.
“I haven’t been on tour that long, compared to some of the other players. Because I did go the college route, so I didn’t really start on tour until I was 22. In some ways it seems like it was just yesterday when I started playing and in other ways it seems like I’ve been out here for an eternity,” she said.
Collins noted the travel component of the job has presented challenges at times, especially for a player accustomed to a stable home life. “I certainly love my job and it’s been a rollercoaster of fun emotion. And there are also times that aren’t as fun. But just like with anything, you have that.
“At this point I feel like I’m ready for the next chapter, and I’m really excited about it. I needed to have an end date and it gives my family and friends the ability to come support me in some final tournaments. I think that will be really special.”
Collins turned pro in 2016. Three years later, she revealed she had been diagnosed with the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis. In 2021, she underwent emergency surgery to treat endometriosis.
The former World No.7 and Australian Open runner-up said her health problems did not play a factor in her decision to retire. “Even though I have had a lot of challenges previously, this is the best that it’s been,” she said. “I finally got to the point where I’ve been able to manage it well and been able to take care of my body, manage around the cycles and all of that fun stuff. I just feel like I’m getting to that stage in life where I’m ready for something new.”
Collins vows to approach this season with her usual dedication, aiming to improve her ranking from 71 and avoid tough draws. Her second round in Abu Dhabi against Elena Rybakina will be her fourth consecutive main-draw match against a Grand Slam champion.
“At this point, I could have easily not come over here and not played tournaments and just focused on the US swing or just getting ready for French Open or something like that. But I really wanted to get more matches and compete. I’m still playing, so it’s not over yet. At some point this year it will be, but not right now,” she said.
Collins has yet to reveal her post-retirement plans but dismissed the idea of managing other athletes when it was brought up in her press conference.
“I think probably something away from sports is probably more likely, but I don’t know exactly what. And I think there will be a period of time where I step away from the public eye a little bit because I did like my normal life a lot,” Collins concluded.