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Zhuk: From Wimbledon Champ to Miami Model


Sofya Zhuk earned a win worth framing when she captured the 2015 Wimbledon girls’ championship.

A shot the player-turned-model shared on social media was hit by a backlash of “aggressive” comments, Zhuk said.

Kyrgios: I Fell Into Depression

The 20-year-old Russian was forced into early retirement due to a chronic back injury. Zhuk, who spent much of her career training in Florida and still lives in Miami, has transitioned from tennis to modeling.

While she’s enjoying her new career, some social media critics aren’t.

Zhuk told RT.com she received “an avalanche” of aggressive and critical responses after posting a topless photo with her back turned to the camera on her official Instagram account.

“I didn’t quite get what was the big deal,” Zhuk told RT.com. “I posted a photo, so what? When I share something, I’m not trying to send any message. I’m just posting a picture that I like. But when I shared that [topless] photo, I received an avalanche of messages.

“Normally I wouldn’t bother about them, but this [time] around they were so aggressive. I just think people simply can’t accept that I’ve found myself outside tennis, that I can live happily without sport and not sinking into depression.”


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

On a very good mood today for some reason 👻😉

A post shared by Sofya Zhuk (@sofya_zhuk) on



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

🧜🏻‍♀️🤔

A post shared by Sofya Zhuk (@sofya_zhuk) on



The Moscow-born baseliner’s last match was a three-set loss to Varvara Lepchenko in the first round of 2019 Wimbledon qualifying and Zhuk says her body will not permit her to play without pain.

Quitting tennis has eliminated much of the daily pain and Zhuk said living pain-free has been positive for her mental health.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I’ve been thinking about writing this for awhile but i think i should do it now. Everyday i get questions about if i stopped playing tennis and why and when and if,or when I’ll be back. I want to make it clear that i understand why you want to know,and my answer is: i have not played for 7 months now because since already a few years I’ve been struggling with serious injuries and always had to play with lots of pain. I loved tennis but it got to the point where i wanted to be pain free and mentally be able to live freely and think about my health and future. Lots of people don’t understand how important the mental part is and to be truly happy with yourself as a human being inside🙏🏻 i picked a way to be happy with myself and be home and have a normal life,and be healthy in every way and i have never regretted this choice and I’ve never been happier then i am right now❤️ SORRY FOR A LONG MESSAGE,just thought i should share my story 💭

A post shared by Sofya Zhuk (@sofya_zhuk) on



“Everyday i get questions about if I stopped playing tennis and why and when and if, or when I’ll be back,” Zhuk posted on Instagram. “I want to make it clear that I understand why you want to know, and my answer is: I have not played for 7 months now because since already a few years I’ve been struggling with serious injuries and always had to play with lots of pain.

“I loved tennis but it got to the point where i wanted to be pain free and mentally be able to live freely and think about my health and future. Lots of people don’t understand how important the mental part is and to be truly happy with yourself as a human being.”

In an interview with David Kane last May, Zhuk said even as far back as her title run to the 2015 Wimbledon girls’ title some doctors told her the severity of her spine issues cast her case as “a lost cause.”

“Even before junior Wimbledon, my back was so bad that no doctor wanted to even help me out,” Zhuk said. “I was considered a lost cause. There was only one doctor that even attempted to treat me, and even his prognosis was that I would last for a few years. When it comes to neurological connections, the spine is the main thing in your body. If your spine is off, your hips, shoulders, scapulas, the knees: everything goes off because the position is moving back and forth.

“My body doesn’t absorb protein well, and the discs in my spine are all over the place. I’ve taken MRIs that show the firmness of my spine is the equivalent of a 50 or 60-year-old.”



Zhuk was once regarded as the top rising young Russian after rolling through the 2015 Wimbledon girls draw that included top-seeded Marketa Vondrousova and ninth-seeded Sofia Kenin without dropping a set.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

@theindustrymiami @orlandonoa @jtinkster @firstoptionproductions

A post shared by Sofya Zhuk (@sofya_zhuk) on



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thinking if I’ll eat pizza or pasta for dinner 🤷🏼‍♀️🐷

A post shared by Sofya Zhuk (@sofya_zhuk) on



The transition to her new career has taught the 5’9” Zhuk modeling shares some similarity with her former sport—it’s physically challenging and mentally taxing because no payday is guaranteed and careers can be so brief.

“I like modeling a lot, but to be realistic, I’m already looking ahead of it,” Zhuk told David Kane. “Yes, I’m signed to an agency, but it’s not as though the contract guarantees a certain number of photoshoots and how much money I’m going to make. You may have a month where you make as much as you need to pay all of your expenses, but you never know if that will be the case every month.

“These days, it’s really safe to have a stable situation. Modeling is fun; it’s hard to do a shoot, especially physically. It’s not something I can rely on longterm. It’s no more than a five to seven year career before new girls come along. Even tennis has a longer career!” 

Photo credit: Sofya Zhuk Instagram


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