Five-time grand slam champion Marion Bartoli will donate her $50,000 Wimbledon 2016 prize money to help raise awareness for World Mental Health Day, being celebrated on 16 September.
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The world No 93 reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon that year, although in a shock result she was defeated by Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunic. Now Bartoli, who has battled depression since 2014, is hoping her announcement will help inspire others.
“It has been my life-long dream to come back from depression and show what was once unthinkable,” Bartoli said. “However, my fight has really been about teaching people about mental health and preventing a similar tragedy from happening in anyone else’s life.
“It is one of the most common illnesses that affects people every day and to encourage young people to talk about it – the key to recovery and to preventing mental illness. As a result, I thought it was only right to return my funds after the season to help spread this message.”
A joint initiative of the Mental Health Foundation, Wray Foundation and The All England Lawn Tennis Club, World Mental Health Day brings together a wide range of support services.
Bartoli revealed she struggled with severe depression during her career, and admitted that until she retired from tennis last October, she often felt she would commit suicide.
The French player said at the time: “It’s OK to show your emotions on the court. The biggest mistake is not doing it.”