Rebecca Marino Quits Tennis After Internet Bullying Robbed Her of Happiness

Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterFebruary 20, 2013

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 08:  Rebecca Marino of Canada returns to Ekaterina Makarova of Russia during Day 1 of the Rogers Cup presented by National Bank at the Rexall Centre on August 8, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Rebecca Marino decided to quit the sport that gave her so much joy, largely because the happiness left her long ago. 

The Toronto Star (h/t SportsGrid) reports the 22-year old Canadian tennis star is calling it quits on a career that really seemed to just be taking off. 

As the report reminds us, Marino suspended her career for a brief period two years ago in part because of cyber bullying. It seems she is now ready to move on for good. 

I have decided to step away from tennis. This was not an easy decision, but there are a number of factors that have led me to this.

Factors that are part of our society and that I am more than open to discuss, which I plan to do moving forward, because I know it’s part of my growth process. 

In keeping with her hope for privacy and away from the constant berating she says took her from the game, Marino has deleted both her Facebook and Twitter accounts. 

Among her accolades, the young Canadian was ranked as high as 38th in the world in July of 2011, and she reached the third round of the French Open in the same year. 

As for reasons to the abrupt retirement, you only have to look to an interview she gave The New York Times

That report raises the situation Marino suffered back in 2011 when she reached her first WTA final. The sudden popularity also brought fans who were quick to rip her and her talent. 

Things were being written about me, and I’m quite sensitive about that. And I’m quite nosy, so I’ll look it up. And then I’ll realize I shouldn’t have looked it up.

With professional athletes, people put them on a pedestal sometimes, and they forget that they’re actually a person still.

She would hang up the tennis racket and retreat with her family back in Vancouver, only to return seven months later. 

Still, her patience with what was being written and said about her wore thin. 

She acknowledged that it was often her own searching of online comments that hurt her. But what bothered her most were messages to her Twitter account sent by people who had lost money betting on her matches.

“They’ll say, ‘You gave that match away, you cost me such-and-such amount of money, you should go burn in hell,’ or ‘You should go die,”’ Marino said. “And oh, my gosh, that is really scary.”

The cutting comments went far beyond the usual columns and and articles opining on her merits as a tennis star. 

It seems she was being reached by fans who crossed the barrier and made her career something personal, and there is never any excuse for such bullying. 

Her break in 2011 may have served for a much-needed respite from the truly awful things sports fans can deliver. 

But after regaining the joy of the sport, Marino unfortunately had it ripped away once again. As Sylvain Bruneau, the head coach of Canada’s women’s national team, states in the report, some players are better able to handle the worst of what fame offers. 

Marino, in one very telling quote, signals that this truly might be the end of her professional playing days in stating, "You know, there’s that saying ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.’ But that’s not true. Names definitely hurt. Words hurt."

In one of her last tweets, she offered, "Some people think I’m too sensitive. I disagree; I’m just being human."

You don't owe anything to anyone, Marino. When the joy of playing a sport leaves, it's time to walk away. It's just a shame the happiness was stolen from you. 

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