Daria Kasatkina reveals how she stays mentally fresh

·2-min read
Daria Kasatkina Credit: Alamy
Daria Kasatkina Credit: Alamy

Daria Kasatkina has opened up on her use of a mental health coach during her run at the Madrid Open.

Kasatkina says that the grind of the tour can really get players down.

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She believes she might have zeroed in on a way to overcome that and find joy in every moment.

“I remember my first year I was just in love with everything,” Kasatkina said at the Mutua Madrid Open. “I was so excited about everything. I could spend 24 hours in the tennis club and be so happy.

“Of course this changes when you are two years doing the same, seeing the same people, the same facilities, everything the same. Obviously, you start to get a bit tired of it.”

Part of her change in approach has been to change up her coach bringing in Italian Flavio Cupolla.

“We have a good connection,” Kasatkina said. “We’re having fun on court and outside of the court. This is important for me especially. I like not to be tense all of the time, otherwise I will get depressed.

“We are now working to get back creativity in my game,” she said, “because the last few years I was more disciplined, but now I think we’re working more to open myself on the court.”

Kasatkina has also brought in a mental health expert to help get her in the best frame of mind.

“It’s very difficult to find the answers and the way on your own,” Kasatkina said.

“So that’s why it’s good to find the help in someone else, a professional to show you other things to enjoy on the tour.

“We’ve been working on a lot of things. About sport, about life, the situation going on in my country because it’s affecting me personally because it’s affecting me. I’m very worried about it and it took a part in my [mental health]. It’s heavy.”

Kasatkina says that the solitary nature and relentless grind of the WTA Tour can take its toll.

“It’s tough because we are like a hamster in a wheel,” she said. “It’s nonstop, we don’t have many breaks, it’s a never-ending story. And at the end, it’s all the same, every year it’s more or less the same story, every week.”

She added that it helps to have a partner who is someone who has experience of elite sport.

Kasatkina is dating former figure skater Natalia Zabiiako.

“She was competing at the highest levels, so she can compare the best tournaments of tennis to the best competitions in ice skating,” Kasatkina said. “She said the ice skating organization is not at the best level, so she really likes the environment here.”

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