French Open 2019: Katie Swan opens up on mental health struggles after qualifying defeat at Roland Garros

Sports Staff

British number five Katie Swan has opened up about her struggles with her mental health over the last few months.

The 20-year-old revealed she was at such a low ebb only three weeks ago that she considered not playing at the French Open for fear of embarrassing herself.

After seeing a psychologist Swan, ranked 208 in the world, did compete at Roland Garros and reached the final qualifying round, where she was beaten by Kristina Kucova of Slovakia on Friday.

After coming so close to reaching the main draw for the first time Swan now says she is heading back to London with her “head held high”.

She wrote on Twitter: “In the last six to eight months I have struggled a lot with my confidence on and off the court and also finding joy in what I’m doing for different reasons.

“I was so afraid of disappointing my family, team and all the people around supporting me and I lost a lot of belief in myself.

“Every match I lost I didn’t just feel like a worse tennis player, but also less of a person.

“I decided to keep these thoughts to myself because I didn’t want to be a burden for anyone and it’s also very hard to open up about this.

“However, a couple of weeks ago I thought to myself this can go one of two ways. I can keep feeling down until I really can’t take it anymore or I can actively try to change and improve things.

“I decided to meet with a psychologist and really open up about everything I have been feeling.

“The first thing she told me is this is totally normal! She also congratulated me on making the effort to change because that is a big step in itself.

“I now realise the life of a tennis player isn’t about pleasing people or showing your worth to them, it’s about proving it to yourself.

“Three weeks ago I wasn’t sure if I wanted to play in Roland Garros because I was afraid to embarrass myself. Today I am heading back to London with my head held high and feeling very proud.

“Proud of the way I turned things around mentally in such a short space of time and still with a lot of improvement to go.”