Amanda Anisimova’s indefinite tennis break highlights burnout – ‘It’s unbearable being at tournaments’

Shahida Jacobs
Amanda Anisimova during a match
Amanda Anisimova in action

At the age of 21, Amanda Anisimova should be enjoying the early days of her burgeoning tennis career, but the rigours of professional tennis has taken its toll and she has decided to take an extended break in order to protect her mental well-being.

Anisimova made her top-level debut in 2017 at the age of 15 and by the end of 2018 she had climbed into the top 100 of the WTA Rankings and was considered one of the hottest prospects on the Tour.

Although still comfortably in the top 100, the American is suffering burnout and has taken a break from tennis.

“Hey guys. I thought I’d make a post explaining what’s been going on and my plans. I’ve really been struggling with my mental health and burnout since the summer of 2022,” she wrote on Instagram.

“It’s become unbearable being at tennis tournaments. At this point my priority is my mental well-being and taking a break for some time. I’ve worked as hard as I could to push through it. I will miss being out there, and I appreciate all the continuous support ✌️”

Following her initial breakthrough in 2018, Anisimova continued her remarkable progress the following year as she became the first player born in the 21st century to reach the fourth round of the singles at a major as she notched up the achievement at the Australian Open.

The American followed it up with a run to the semi-final at Roland Garros, defeating the likes of defending champion Simona Halep and Aryna Sabalenka before falling to eventual winner Ashleigh Barty.

She also won her maiden title at the Copa Colsanitas and reached a career-high of No 21, but 2019 also saw her suffer heartbreak as her father died shortly before the US Open.

The teenager opened up about her struggles in later interviews, telling the New York Times: “This is obviously the hardest thing I’ve had to go through and the hardest thing that’s ever happened to me, and I don’t really talk about it with anyone.

“The only thing that has helped me is just playing tennis and being on the court. That’s what makes me happy, and I know it would make him happy, so that’s the way it is.”

Unsurprisingly, the 2020 season was a difficult one as she lost form and that continued the year after as she slumped out of the top 75 in the rankings.

But there were glimpses of a comeback in 2022 as she won her second title – the Melbourne Summer Set – at the start of the year and returned to the top 30 on the back of a run to the quarter-final at Wimbledon.

However, the 2023 season has proven to be a tough one again for Anisimova as she won only two matches before announcing a break from tennis.

It remains to be seen when she will come back to the sport, but she is not the only top WTA player who has decided to focus on their personal well-being instead of putting their heads in the sand and battling on.

Four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka, of course, is the biggest example as she took time away from the game after the 2021 French Open while recently another former world No 1 Garbine Muguruza has also opted for an extended break mid-season as she has also struggled.

Walking away is not always easy as many will say “if you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”, but sometimes the work that you love can also take its toll.