Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli is returning to the game to keep her mental demons at bay.
The 33-year-old announced her shock return to the women’s tour in December, four years after originally calling time on her career.
Bartoli retired just months after winning Wimbledon in 2013 – her only grand slam title – and has endured a difficult time since then.
She suffered a dramatic weight loss that almost cost her her life after contracting a virus in 2016 while also revealing she was abused in a relationship with a former boyfriend.
The Frenchwoman returns to court next week in the Tie Break Tens tournament in New York and that is where she is happiest.
“Psychologically I suffer very much from different issues, most of them personal,” she told the Daily Telegraph. “It’s been a very difficult part of my life. Some days are tougher than others, but tennis makes me happy.
“I feel confident between those lines. That’s why I wanted to come back again as a pro. I wanted to feel positive for my mental health to succeed and achieve things.
“That’s why this comeback goes beyond a simple love of the game. I think it will help me recover psychologically.
“My way of getting my life back on track is through sport, through being an athlete, through feeling adrenaline again and trying to win matches. That’s what I feel defines me.”
After her return in New York next week, Bartoli has been offered a wild card into the WTA Tour event in Monterrey before also trying to compete in the Miami Open.
“At 33 I will be a bit slower than I was at 27,” she added. “It will be more difficult to recover, too, so there are a lot of maybes and questions marks. But I feel I can be ready.”