But at the US Open, she has become the latest woman to find success in her second life on the courts, unable to resist the call of competition, the lure of the lights and the security of the big paydays.
On Sunday, the 26-year-old became the first Latvian woman in 22 years to reach the last-eight of a Grand Slam.
It's a long way from when she stepped off the circuit in May 2013 until January 2015, opting to study instead.
"It was some accounting, some management, marketing; I had some exams. I passed and it was easy at some point," she recalled after seeing off Johanna Konta of Britain to reach the US Open quarter-finals.
"But at some point I said, OK, I will try tennis again. So I had to stop."
Her ranking had slumped to 181 by the end of 2012, but her surprise success in New York, where she has already knocked out French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, will comfortably see her improve on her current standing of 48.
"It's been a bumpy road. I didn't expect to be here at this point of my life after retiring," she said.
"But the biggest factor now is that I have matured personally and physically. I also saw that there is life without tennis. So that helped me."
Sevastova's story rings familiar.
World number 15 Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland lost her passion for tennis back in 2012 when a left foot injury and a fractured relationship with her father saw her ranking slump to 285.
Convinced that her playing days were over, she waited tables while studying for a diploma in hotel management.
But Bacsinszky's love for the game was rekindled in 2013 when she received an email telling her there was a place for her in French Open qualifying despite not having played for months.
She got time off work, leapt in her car, and drove through the night from Lausanne to reach Paris.
Although she lost in the first round, Bacsinszky was convinced that she could grasp a second chance at playing.
She was proved right. In 2015, she made the French Open semi-finals.
The US Open has seen a story like Sevastova's before and in even more dramatic circumstances.
Kim Clijsters won her first US Open in 2005 but retired in 2007, eventually starting a family with husband Brian Lynch.
But two years later, the Belgian announced her return to the tour.
In only her third tournament back, she won a second US Open title, becoming the first unranked player and wildcard to win the tournament.
She added another US Open in 2010 and Australian Open in 2011 before she quit for good back in New York in 2012.
Evergreen Japanese star Kimiko Date also found it impossible to resist the call of the sport.
She reached the semi-finals of the 1994 Australian Open, the 1995 French Open and Wimbledon in 1996.
Date retired in 1996 at 26 but came back to the tour 12 years later at the age of 37, going on to win a WTA title in Seoul on the day before her 39th birthday.
Martina Hingis has retired twice and is still a major Grand Slam force in doubles.
She won five Grand Slam singles titles between 1997 and 1999 before she quit in 2003 with a knee injury.
A year later, the Swiss was into her second retirement when she was hit with a two-year doping suspension having tested positive for cocaine at Wimbledon.
Six years further on and Hingis was back again, reinvented as a doubles specialist, winning three Grand Slam titles with India's Sania Mirza.