Guido Pella’s nightmare: from thinking about retirement to his daughter’s motivation to go back to court

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Guido Pelle he played just one singles match this season. It was early November, in Montevideo challenger, a tournament that marked his return to the field after more than a year’s absence. That long inactivity, caused by a chronic injury to his right knee, in which he is practically devoid of cartilage, forced him to end his 2021 season in October, kept him out of the circuit for 384 days and caused him to lose the classification ( today has no points). And it also led him to seriously think about hanging up his racket. However, the man from Bahía has reconsidered his retirement and today, after a 2022 that could have been a nightmare and about to “be again”, he does not hesitate to assure: “This has been the best year of my life and I just for the birth of my daughter, which is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

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“I was in a very good mental state from the end of 2021, because I had the courage to say ‘I don’t play anymore’. And this, for a person who has played tennis all his life, is the most important decision. I did so convinced that my year had been excellent. I started enjoying other things and living life from a normal person’s point of view and I loved it. I love being a normal person, I love not having to answer leaderboard or tournaments every week and having the freedom to choose what I want to do when I want to do it,” she commented in a chat with clarion.

And he continued: “Living as I have lived this year has led me to say ‘If I play again, I can take it differently’. It’s not all so serious, it’s not all so linear, it’s not all so uphill. Obviously it’s an apprenticeship, but in those first few months when I started training more professionally and competing, I managed to calm down a bit. I managed to reach a good level of tennis, but without many mental pretensions, just thinking about doing my best day by day”.

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To understand what Pella has experienced in the last year, it is worth going back to the beginning. “I had patellofemoral syndrome, which causes me severe pain in my knee, because my cartilage is very worn. It’s an injury from over a decade ago and there’s no cure, but if you’re in good weight, do exercises to strengthen your hips, hamstrings, quads, glutes, it shouldn’t cause much of a problem. But as I got older, I needed more exercise and better weight. And at the end of 2021 he was having a bad time,” said the boy from Bahia, who finished 20th in the standings and won an ATP title, in Sao Paulo 2019.

“I felt a lot of pain, not only when I was training or playing. The change of surface killed me and when I went from grass to hard it got worse. That’s why I decided to stop. Because it’s one thing to suffer when you’re in competition and another, you can’t even get out of bed well. There it already goes to another level and it is very difficult to bear,” she continued.

His first motivation was to leave the pain behind to enjoy his daily life. He had several treatments, but what helped him the most was the physical exercises. However, returning to court did not cross his mind in the first few months of recovery.

“I made the decision not to play anymore due to a fever, but as the weeks went by I convinced myself that it was the right one. I had also removed everything that could be traumatic. I hear many athletes say ‘I dont know what I’m going to do’ . I agree, but there really does come a time when balance is so prone to stop playing, whether through pain or lack of desire or whatever… It was pretty much a decision made,” she commented.

what made you change your mind? On the one hand, the birth of her first daughter. On the other hand, having felt good physically again.

“The starting point was to stop feeling that sharp pain I used to have. I tried every way to start feeling less pain for my life. For the first time, I prioritized my mental and physical health over my own career, because it’s not healthy to live with. And when that relief came, I started training a lot harder and feeling better. This made my confidence in my physique increase a lot and I decided to give myself the chance to play again,” he recalled.

“Taking the drama out of not playing has made my body relax and absorb all the training and exercises much better. Today I feel flawless, compared to how I used to be. I know I’ve played a game in the past year and a half, that I miss a lot, that the level isn’t what it used to be and the training, obviously, isn’t either. But I’m trying to demand a little more each time to be able to continue to level up. I hope next year I can stay well physically and from a tennis point of view, which is important.”

New stage, new perspective

La Pella has chosen to give himself a new opportunity to try to be a protagonist on the pitch again. But in this new stage – a sort of “second career” – she will do things her way and face the competition with a new perspective.

“Today I play, train and prepare because I want to. It’s my decision, no one else’s. And from this moment on I want to make decisions that I feel comfortable with, I don’t want anyone else to ask me anything that I makes me uncomfortable, I’m already grown up, I know what I have to do to do my job to the best of my ability and I want everything to happen while having as much fun as possible and trying to play the best role I can”, he assured.

-Did you get rid of that pressure you always felt in tournaments?

The pressure never goes away. You can come to feel different kinds of pressure, major or minor, but you never stop feeling it, mainly due to an internal request from each one. I was lucky enough to reach a good ranking, to be able to play against the best and beat several of them, and this makes the mind get used to the requests. This will never change. This requirement, unfortunately, does not disappear. And I say unfortunately because there comes a point where you want to rest or have a calmer mind and, it seems like a joke, the brain won’t let you. I think it’s something necessary for the sport. But I hope next year can take it as relaxed as possible.

-A few years ago you said you didn’t like tournaments, that you suffered from that pressure you were talking about. Did you miss the race?

Any. Zero. The only weeks I thought ‘I want to be there’ It was Davis Cup weeks, the one played in Argentina in March and the one played in Italy, because I’ve always loved playing Davis Cup. I was fortunate to always perform well and compete well in that tournament and have great memories. I’ve never felt so scared on the court as in Davis games, but in the end they were good experiences. But the rest of the year, nothing. My father, who is a tennis enthusiast, used to watch the US Open or Roland Garros and I passed them, there was no way I would sit and watch them.

-And what did you feel when you played again, at the Montevideo tournament?

Loved it. First of all because Montevideo is a city where I love to play and it’s a tournament I’ve won twice. And after about a year, I wanted to see where it was. Obviously I didn’t expect to win, far from it, but I was very uncertain how I would feel. And I felt very comfortable, very comfortable. I played an excellent game against an opponent who, it seems to me, was the worst that could touch me in the first round (Editor’s note: He lost 7-5 and 6-3 with Juan Manuel Cerúndolo; as well as reaching the doubles semifinal with Camilo Ugo) and this encouraged me to continue. They made me want to have a good preseason, because I had a good feeling and I understood that I can still play and maybe get back to a good level.

-Are you mentally ready to return to the vortex of the circuit?

It will be very difficult. In about a month we have to travel to Australia and thinking about it gives me mixed feelings. It will be the first time I travel without Stefi and without B

Source: Clarin

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