Casey Dellacqua has opened up about the circumstances around her emotional 2018 retirement.
Speaking at a Tennis Australia Women in Coaching breakfast at Peppers Kings Square Hotel in Perth last Sunday morning, Dellacqua spoke about her own junior pathway in Western Australia before going onto an outstanding singles and doubles career at the top level.
Dellacqua, who was also coaching at a junior camp in Perth last week, admitted it had been a wrench to give up her singles career due to an injury.
“It was kind of forced on me because I had really bad concussion in China and after that I never played singles again,” Dellacqua said.
“I did battle with that because knowing I was going to come back and play again but not play singles, I wasn’t sure what that was going to look like – what was the training going to look like?
“I almost felt like a bit less of a player but then once I accepted the fact that I was a really good doubles player and I could make a lot of money from just playing doubles as well and I love the game still and I had a partner that I really enjoyed playing with, it all just sat really well with me. Once I came to the decision it was fine, but it was certainly a battle.”
As Dellacqua prepared to commentate the final day of the Fed Cup Final at RAC Arena, she revealed why her final professional tennis match was so special.
“I just knew that when I was coming back from my concussion I was going to retire and then when I got back and I had to a goal to get inside top 10 in doubles and then I did that really well,” Dellacqua said.
“Then my very last professional match was at Fed Cup in Canberra. It was to keep us in the World Group that we’re playing for now. So this is was about 18 months ago and it was my birthday, my 33 birthday, and it was a live rubber.
“I was sat on the bench. I’d watched Dasha (Daria Gavrilova) lose both of her singles matches and Ash (Barty) win both of her singles.
“I had to get up knowing that it was my last match that I was ever going to play in tennis. Ash was almost crying before we even walked out on court and then I had my mum and dad and anyone who had impacted me in my career, I had brought to Canberra. No one else knew. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was going to be retiring after that moment. But for me to finish playing doubles with my best friend, having got back inside top 10, it was just all meant to be. I’m very grateful that I chose to basically go back to play doubles.”
Dellacqua said she now encouraged emerging players to pursue doubles if it was their passion.
“I think times are changing a bit,” Dellacqua says. “It’s actually a great pathway, if that’s what you want to do. You can make good money in doubles and a lot of the girls prefer playing doubles so I always encourage them.”
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I have to admit it felt slightly weird being at a Fed Cup in a completely different role 😬 but I loved being there cheering on our girls as well as doing TV 💚💛 absolutely gutted for Team Australia but so proud of each and everyone of them for doing what aussies do best, fight 💪 congrats to Team France on a wonderful performance over the weekend 👏 #proudofouraussies #fedcupfinal #hometimenow #backtomumlife