The 29-year-old took a break at the end of 2018 and rediscovered her happy place on court. (USTA/ Tom Grason)

"I’m mature enough to say yes to things that I probably wouldn't have before. I would put tennis in front of almost everything. Back in the day that was just that way it was. Now it’s like tennis is third, maybe fourth compared to everything else, happiness is the No. 1 thing."

This week brings something a little bit different on the TENNIS.com Podcast. Usual co-host Irina Falconi is actually the guest, alongside her boyfriend Travis Hartman. 

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Falconi joined the podcast world in August of 2018, just weeks before she stepped away from the pro tour. She was ranked in the 150s when her year-long hiatus began, and tells everyone why she lost her passion for the game. For the first time in her adult life, the 29-year-old had to find her identity outside of competitive tennis, figuring out what makes her happy like gardening, cooking and coaching. 

About eight months into her break, Falconi realized she wasn't done yet. In July, she started training for a comeback with a completely reset mindset and newfound purpose. The former world No. 63 has played just four events since her first ITF in September, but has gone from unranked to No. 440 largely thanks to a semifinal run at the WTA 125K Series last week in Houston. 

The views, information, and/or opinions expressed are solely those of the podcast creators and do not necessarily represent those of The Tennis Channel, Inc., its affiliates or subsidiaries.