Bouncing back from 2019 SEA Games heartbreak to capture the hearts of a nation: Marian Capadocia

Together with the help of her family who pulled her out of depression, this Philippines tennis star gave the perfect response to her critics when she bounced back to qualify for the 31st SEA Games

PHOTO: SYUHAINI AZLIN, SPORTPLUS.SG


Born in Manila and hailing from the beautiful province of Antique in western Philippines, Marian Capadocia began her tennis journey at the age of 8.


The bubbly Philippines tennis star, who turned pro seven years later, is most fondly remembered by many as the girl who lit up the cauldron of the 2017 Palarong Pambasa, an annual multi-sport National Games event involving student-athletes from 17 regions of the Philippines.

Her exploits on the court has not gone unnoticed as well, reaching her highest individual ranking in the Philippines in 2011 at just 16 years-old, when she became number one, just a year after turning professional.


At the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam, Capadocia played a starring role for the Pilipinas en route to the bronze medal which they clinched for the Tennis Women's Team event, which saw her defeating Malaysia's rising star Saw Jo-Leen in straight sets (7-5, 6-4) during her match in the quarter finals along the way.

PHOTO: SYUHAINI AZLIN, SPORTPLUS.SG


"We worked so hard and fought so hard to get the bronze medal. This memory is one I would treasure all my life," said the 26 year-old in a post Games interview.


The achievement was made all the more significant as preparations leading up to these Games was disruptive owing to Covid-19 restrictions in the Philippines.


Capadocia shared: "Before the sea games, my biggest challenge was how to stay healthy and strong and how to perform well at the SEA Games despite the pandemic."


"To overcome this challenge, with no tournaments being played and tennis courts being closed I worked out on my own with conditioning exercises at home and I jogged everyday."

PHOTO: SYUHAINI AZLIN, SPORTPLUS.SG


Blocking Out Pressure


Her ability to handle pressure and stress comes from the mental fortitude she possesses, to block out everything whenever she steps on court to uplift both her mind and her game.


In the zone, it is just her and tennis and she feels no stress as she focuses on the game and not her opponent, making it her world in that tiny bubble.

PHOTO: SYUHAINI AZLIN, SPORTPLUS.SG


It also helps of course that she trains with a mental coach on how to stay focused and to remain calm before each game. Her pre-match routine involves listening to "song to God", which keeps her peaceful


She continues to play to this day, being motivated by her family, for whom she is the sole breadwinner and who inspire her to push past her limits and challenges so as to provide for them.

PHOTO: SYUHAINI AZLIN, SPORTPLUS.SG


Overcoming Negativity


Arguably the biggest hurdle Capadocia had to face was the disappointment of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in which she was eliminated in the first round, which saw her receiving the brunt of criticism which questioned why she was even competing at the Games.


It left Capadocia in tears, as she blocked out her family and friends and entered depression.


Tennis became a way out for her, as she recommitted herself to playing the game. Together with the help of her family who pulled her out of depression, and being the fighter that she is, Capadocia gave the perfect response to her critics when she bounced back to qualify for the 31st SEA Games.


For Capadocia, to live uplifted means to inspire others to live well, and she hopes her life story will continue to give hope to those around her facing similar challenges to never give up, and that more youth in her hometown may one day wish to pursue a career in tennis.


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