Destanee Aiava has declared she’s stronger than she ever knew after an attempt to take her own life on Easter Sunday.

The Aussie young gun is continuing to receive support from the tennis community after she announced on Instagram she “did not want to make it” to her 22nd birthday.

She said days earlier, on Easter Sunday, she had attempted to end her life after she was made to feel “unworthy of being loved” following the breakdown of some close relationships.

Watch the latest sport on Channel 7 or stream for free on 7plus >>

“It was just personal relationships that I had had for the last 10 months, it was multiple relationships that had gone downhill and they kind of play on your mind a bit,” Aiava told

“Especially when you’re made to feel like you’re the issue as to why they (the relationships) went wrong, which isn’t true.”

The Melbourne-based tennis player soon started blaming herself for what had gone wrong.

“You just go straight to (thinking) you’re not good enough,” the world No. 463 said.

“So I’ve gone through some of that from relationships and I pretty much lost it.”

While her issues over the Easter weekend weren’t directly related to tennis, she said her mind quickly started adding up some things she was struggling with in her career.

Destanee Aiava posted this photo from her 22nd birthday.
Destanee Aiava posted this photo from her 22nd birthday. Credit: Instagram

“In the moment and on that day on Easter Sunday, everything wrong that I thought was going on in my life, including my career and everything else, it just kept pouring in,” she said.

“So when one thing comes up and then another, it’s just a domino effect, so everything bad that I thought was not happening well for me, it kept coming out.”

Those heartbreaking thoughts left the young tennis star in a dangerous mindset, before she was saved by the incredible intervention of three strangers on a Melbourne bridge.

“So they stopped on the bridge, they just parked in the middle of the road. I was pretty much just hysterical,” Aiava recalls.

“At that moment I thought there was no way out besides that. Then all three of them just came out (of the car) and talked to me.

“They said ‘Are you OK?’ and I said ‘I’m fine, just leave me, give me some space I’ll be fine,’ then they were pretty much just calming me down telling me, ‘It’s going to be fine’, saying they know what I’m going through, they can relate.

“(A woman) said ‘We’re not going until you get in the car’, and pretty much dragged me from the bridge and into the car and took me home.”

Destanee Aiava has competed at four Australian Opens.
Destanee Aiava has competed at four Australian Opens. Credit: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Aiava, who’s competed at four Australian Opens, explained the strangers continued to comfort her during the emotional car ride home, affirming there was always hope.

“I remember one of them said ‘Whatever you’re going through I can relate’ and ‘There’s always another way out, there’s a way to happiness’,” Aiava said.

Aiava quickly set out to seek professional help after that night and is now in the process of speaking to a psychologist while taking her mental health recovery day by day.

She wants other people who are struggling with their mental health to always remember they are loved.

“I do remember trying to go through everyone who I thought would miss me if I was gone,” Aiava said.

“Pretty much I could only come up with my family and my closest friends.

Australia captain Alicia Molik, Daria Gavrilova, Ashleigh Barty, Casey Dellacqua and Destanee Aiava (far right) of Australia celebrate victory during the Fed Cup tie between Australia and the Ukraine in 2018.
Australia captain Alicia Molik, Daria Gavrilova, Ashleigh Barty, Casey Dellacqua and Destanee Aiava (far right) of Australia celebrate victory during the Fed Cup tie between Australia and the Ukraine in 2018. Credit: Matt King/Getty Images

“I feel like anyone else who’s outside of that circle, who made you feel that kind of way, or just put you down in some way, those people shouldn’t matter.

“There are always going to be people who love you and appreciate you, it’s just hard to remember that.

“In that moment you kind of forget and you just think ‘the world will be better off without you, no one will miss you’ but I think just training your mind to remember that there are people who love you and appreciate you is so important.”

Aiava said she was blown away by the support she received from the tennis community following her heartbreaking post last week, with many fellow stars reaching out to offer assistance.

However, she suggested more could be done within the sport to assist tennis players, given the sport’s challenges such as ranking pressures and the isolation of overseas trips, particularly in the COVID era.

Aiava said she could relate “100 per cent” to Aussie tennis star Nick Kyrgios’ revelation earlier this year that he had self-harmed during the 2020 Australian Open, while feeling “alone, playing in front of millions”.

“It’s just sad that we have to even bring it up in that kind of way for it to be noticed or for someone actually to do something about it and reach out,” Aiava said.

“We should all be supporting each other from the get-go, not just when something bad happens, we shouldn’t be waiting for that last resort.”

Aiava, who achieved a career-high ranking of world No. 147 in 2017, explained tennis players with lower rankings faced a unique set of mental health challenges.

“It’s such a lonely sport, especially if you can’t afford to travel with a coach or a friend,” Aiava said.

“Even just being around tennis, sometimes it’s not that great energy, it’s so competitive and highly strung, everyone’s on edge.

“(You find yourself) just going back to the tennis hotel after matches and having no time for leisure.

“If you’re at the big tournaments like grand slams it’s a lot easier, but if you’re ranked lower where I am it’s pretty tough, just going from country to country, even getting around countries where you don’t speak the language, it’s very tough.”

For now, Aiava is taking her training “one day at a time” as she prepares for a 10-week trip to play a run of tournaments in the US.

Learning from some of the difficulties of recent overseas tours, she will take her best friend with her so she has “a piece of home” by her side.

Before that Aiava, who’s earned $783,000 from her tennis career to date, is looking forward to celebrating her 22nd birthday properly this weekend with a small family picnic.

She declared she’ll be able to encounter the next phase of her career with a newfound sense of resilience and strength after the struggles of recent months.

“I think I’ll be able to look back on it and see that I’ve pushed through life and I’ve overcome so many obstacles,” Aiava said.

“I’ve struggled recently but the fact that I’ve come out of it on top it just proves to me that I’m stronger than I think.” has contacted Tennis Australia for comment on this story.

If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

For further information about depression contact beyondblue on 1300224636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.