Liam Broady: Mental health struggles led British tennis player to consider retirement

Liam Broady of Great Britain in action during his qualifying match of the US Open on August 22, 2018 in New York City, United States. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)
Liam Broady of Great Britain in action during his qualifying match of the US Open on August 22, 2018 in New York City, United States. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

A British tennis player considered giving up the sport after struggling with the ‘dog-eat-dog’ nature of the profession.

Liam Broady, 25, reached a personal-best world ranking of 154th last year before slumping to 335th.

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That subsequent decline in ranking followed a nine-match losing streak.

And it was during that period that Broady wondered whether to continue.

“I wasn't sure if it was what I wanted to do any more because I didn't feel happy as a person," he said.

"I don't really like to complain about stuff and I only started to realise how much I was going through the motions towards the end of the year.

"I fell out of touch with a lot of people who care about me, which I think is probably a very guy thing to do.

"On tour it's kind of a dog-eat-dog world, you don't want to show weakness to anyone else, you don't want to say you're struggling because they're trying to take food off your plate and you're trying to take food off theirs."

“I called Naomi after the French Open and I was really upset, and that was a bit weird because I don’t really get upset around anyone, but I didn’t really feel like I had anyone else to talk to.”

Naomi, his 29-year-old sister and fellow player, found herself in the role of counsellor.

“There’s so much talk in this country at the moment surrounding men’s mental health, and I think it’s really important with the (suicide) statistics we have, so I was really glad he did reach out,” she said.

Naomi has had her own struggles, particularly around travel – she overcame a fear of flying after the pilot father of a fellow player gave her a flying-with-confidence course – and she values the services of a mental health professional available through the WTA.

She added: “I went through a phase of having terrible anxiety, which I still deal with now, and sometimes panic attacks, and then you can get really down because of your tennis. It’s difficult to not take your self worth and total happiness from your results.”

Additional words from Press Association Sport

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