MELBOURNE – It seems like only a blip in time since Rebecca Marino hit the courts at Melbourne Park.
In fact, it has been six eventful years, during which the 28-year-old Canadian left the game, and returned.
And now, a year into a comeback that started literally from scratch, she’s back at a Grand Slam.
It’s a full circle sort of thing; Marino’s last two Grand Slam appearances came in Australia, in 2012 and 2013.
Barely a month after that 2013 appearance, a 6-3, 6-0 loss to Shuai Peng, Marino had retired.
On Tuesday, she’s back, in a first-round qualifying match against another big hitter, No. 19 seed Caroline Dolehide of the U.S.
Here’s what Marino looked like Monday during a practice session with Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic.
Back issue scuttles off-season prep
Marino dealt with a herniated disc the second half of 2018. It was something she first felt playing her hometown Van Open in early August.
She still won two matches at the WTA event in Quebec City. And then she won a $25,000 ITF tournament in Lubbock, Texas. But Marino played just two tournaments after mid-September, losing in the first round in both.
She shut it down in early October.
The issue now isn’t the back, Marino told tennis.life. She’s symptom-free. But the problem put a big hurt on her off-season training plans.
She didn’t play any tournaments heading up to this return to Grand Slam action.
But it’s definitely worth giving it a try, despite the rustiness.
Marino is back in the big leagues.