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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday March 27, 2023

Lucas Pouille, the former Grand Slam semifinalist and former World No.10 once labelled as one of the key cogs in the future of French tennis, has opened up about his mental health issues as he mounts a comeback to the sport at the age of 29.

Speaking with French journalist Quentin Moynet of L’équipe, Pouille said that his ego got in the way at times.

“I think ego plays a big role,” he said. “The impatience to return to the highest level. I had the chance to experience great emotions, to play in the biggest tournaments in the world, to make a Grand Slam semi-final, two quarters, to win the Davis Cup, titles... Going from that to being toppled by the 300th in the world in the first round of a Challenger, well, if we are not in tune with that, we cannot win. I did not have the necessary humility and it is not pleasant to think that you lack humility.”

Pouille, who dealt with several injuries, including elbow surgery in 2020, said he went through a dark period recently.

“I started having a darker side and going into a depression which led me, after Roland-Garros in England, to sleeping an hour a night and drinking alone.”

He said when his team questioned why he was looking so haggard, he lied to them.

“I was lying to him. I shut myself away, I didn't tell anyone. (…) I was in a bad phase. And I made the decision to say stop….For my sanity, it had to stop.”

The 29-year-old is currently in training again, having worked through his issues and gotten to know himself better. No longer seduced by the money or the lifestyle that the sport can provide, he simply wants to take another crack at reaching his potential.

Pouille, who reached the 2019 Australian Open semifinal under the coaching of Amelie Mauresmo, owns five ATP titles and 139 ATP wins. He is currently ranked 459 in the world and is playing on the challenger circuit for the time being.