***Katy Shulaeva was 23 years old and suddenly knew that all options had been exhausted and that her career was over. The stress injury to her foot, after two operations and years of rehabilitation, was never going to be able to withstand the grind of day to day competitive tennis, Suddenly from having seven more years to achieve her goal of becoming a top ranked player, the former Canadian Champion and Fed Cup player found herself out of work with a brand new life staring her in the face.***
ONcourt: How difficult was it for you to retire at such a young age?
Katarina Shulaeva: It was a decision that had been made with careful consideration and that I gave a lot of time to. I was at peace with retiring so young because I just felt that it wasn’t in the cards for me. After 5 years of ongoing injuries, my mind was suffering from the frustration of not being able to achieve the goals I set for myself. I really truly believed that I had the capabilities to be one of the best players in the world and I was very committed to my path of professional tennis. When my injuries hit and wouldn’t subside, it wore me down mentally and I became unhappy with tennis. So to retire young was unfortunate but was the best decision made for myself personally.
ONcourt: Do you have any second thoughts about the decisions made during your tennis career?
Katarina Shulaeva: I wish to have listened to my body more closely during my years of training. I was a work horse and pushed myself too much at times, causing injuries and burn outs before my peaks. I feel I missed many competitions due to injuries that could have been avoided.
ONcourt: You are now coaching, how did you come to this decision?
Katarina Shulaeva: I always thought as a player that I was not interested in coaching, I wanted to play only. So after deciding to stop, I certainly was not seeking out to coach. Pierre Lamarche gave me an opportunity to stay busy so as not to mourn my career for too long, and I began to work with a couple of girls. It was very natural and satisfying helping others. I have been given so much throughout my career and I would like nothing more to give back to the tennis community. I feel that I fell into coaching and I am excited to have the opportunity to grow and learn at ACE Tennis Academy.
ONcourt: Do you think this will be a career and if it is, how are you going to approach it?
Katarina Shulaeva: I want this to be a career and I want to approach it as so. I am going to get all of my certification through Tennis Canada and with the help of Ari Novick, have figured out a path for the best way to get a well rounded education as a coach. I have so much to learn and am approaching every day with a learning attitude. I look forward to the future… Helping others, developing great players and becoming the best coach I can be.