Patty Schnyder quit tennis in 2011, then divorced, gave birth to a baby girl, started doing acupuncture for dogs, and after playing on the ITF circuit since July 2015 in Darmstadt, the 37-year-old entered her first WTA tournament at her beloved Charleston this week, losing her first qualifying match to Samantha Crawford as a wildcard.
The Swiss had played the Charleston tournament, now called the Volvo Car Open, for fifteen consecutive years and enjoyed a rock-star status there. Her runs to the final 2002 and 2006, which included victories over legendary Jennifer Capriati, Justine Henin, Serena Williams, Amelie Mauresmo, and others, stole the hearts of tennis fans.
WTA's Courtney Nguyen made a nice interview with Schnyder this week, in which the now-455th-ranked Swiss reveals that she retired from tennis because she was overwhelmed and needed a break.
Everything was frustrating me and I was stressed too much. You need a switch. It was really frustration; I didn't want to be around anything anymore. I didn't want to travel, be on the court, compete. The stress made it all enough. It's not that it was an easy decision but I just couldn't handle it anymore.
The urge to compete and travel is back now:
I was kind of having fun playing matches [in the Swiss league], enjoying the competition. I was also working hard and I was on court again, so I thought – because I was winning those league matches and I wanted to try to get some real competition. So that was the thought, and I was having fun, and I was in the sport but not traveling, and I just love to travel. It's a great combination and that's always been the lifestyle I like, so why not try it?
When asked about her goals, Patty said that she has no set goals yet, rather she's trying to improve, get her concentration back, sort out a few injuries that are still there, and so on.
The whole thing is really about being healthy, getting the concentration and the mental stuff, but it's fun to try to get it back at this stage of your life. It's a challenge and I just like it.
Wow, women's tennis is really stunning, with players getting back to the sport at the age of 37. Good luck, Patty! (photo: Fiji Water)