Melbourne, Australia, 16 January 2022 | Leigh Rogers

Chasing your tennis dreams requires sacrifice and dedication, as Monique Adamczak continues to demonstrate.

The 38-year-old returned to the WTA Tour this month, making her first professional appearance since March 2020.

A toe injury sustained at Australian Open 2020 had threatened to end her doubles career, leaving the Australian struggling to even walk.

After an eight-week stint in a moon boot only exacerbated the pain, the former world No.44 conceded she was “probably never going to play again”.

“It’s not until you have an injured toe that you realise how much you use them and how much it affects everything you do,” she said.

Determined to avoid surgery, Adamczak undertook a two-week water cleanse in a bid to help alleviate the pain.

She described the water-only diet as “the craziest thing ever”.

“I’d read a lot about the theory behind it and how the body can heal itself. I needed the inflammation to settle and given even just walking was causing me pain, I needed to let my body heal,” she explained.

Adamczak, who has studied sports science and has qualifications in strength and conditioning, likened it to “a science project on myself”.

“It’s pretty extreme, I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone,” she said.

“How to get the most of our bodies, from a physical perspective to be able to perform, has always fascinated me.”

Having recently experienced some major changes in her personal life, including the end of a long-term relationship and a relocation to Canberra, Adamczak also found the experience healing in other ways.

“I was fasting to get more out of myself in a holistic way, to overcome and let go of everything I was dealing with,” she explained.

“I was at a bit of a loss at that period, so even doing the fasting was, from a spiritual perspective, really beneficial for me. I was letting go of the past and being able to move on.”

The physical benefits were immediate too, inspiring Adamczak to begin training again.

> READ: Doubles draws revealed for Australian Open 2022

Although she admits her passion for tennis waned at times during her time away from the tour, Adamczak remained involved in the sport. She coached juniors in Canberra and assisted former doubles partner Storm Sanders during last year’s Australian Open.

“I knew I had a protected ranking and I missed competing, so I thought why not?” Adamczak said of her decision to return to the tour.

Having returned from multiple career-threatening knee injuries, Adamczak understands the perseverance it takes to return to the highest level.

Yet this comeback featured challenges of a new kind.

“As I was preparing to get back in the gym, we went into lockdown in Canberra,” she explained.

“I had borrowed some weights and equipment from a friend, so I started working out in the car park of my apartment block. The police stopped by once and were like “what are you doing?” I told them I was preparing for the Australian Open, so they were like “carry on, that’s fine”.”

Adamczak admits she experienced some nerves and doubts as her training continued.

“For me the hitting part has always been easy. It was more about if my body could handle it?” said Adamczak, who contested her first Australian Open in 1999.

“But throughout the whole process of building back my strength and muscles, getting fitter again, I felt really good.”

Adamczak, who has a protected ranking of No.70, advanced to the Melbourne Summer Set quarterfinals alongside China’s Han Xinyun last week. The duo will also team up at the upcoming Australian Open.

Thrilled to score her first tour-level win in almost two years, Adamczak is equally proud that her hard work has paid off.

“I could never have imagined that I would be here a year ago, even six months ago,” she admitted.

“I went through a really hard time and I honestly thought I’d never play again. I just feel so lucky.”

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