“You’re not my tennis coach!”
I live in Paris with my partner, Carine, and our sons, Timothée and Valentin. But when every thing started to close because of the coronavirus pandemic, we decided to self-isolate in southern France. The house we stayed at has a tennis court in the backyard, so there clearly was a lot of tennis with the youngsters. My older son, Timothée, who is 10, likes to remind me that I’m maybe not actually his coach when I make sure he understands something on the court!
That’s how he’s been right away, so I never got a part of his tennis much. But sometimes that he’s happy to play with me because he remembers that I’m a tennis player and thinks maybe I actually know something!
We don’t spend considerable time at home as tennis players, so regrettably I’ve missed a lot of things with my children. Sometimes you leave for a tournament and they’re crawling. When you come back, they are walking! You feel like, ‘Oh no, I missed something there.’ But I knew which was the case from the start. When Timothée is 15, I am 40, so I’ll be able to do many things with him. I’m 35 now and still competing, so basically waited before the end of my career to start a family group, it would’ve been too late.
During normal time, when I’m home for a week off, I really wish to focus on things with my kids. But unfortunately, sooner or later, I have to leave to travel again. That’s what has been so nice about these months. It’s been great to have all of this time therefore i could actually work on some things that I desired to help with, like school for the big one and other things for the tiny one.
I’ve actually been a teacher above all else during the ATP Tour’s suspension. At first it was difficult balancing every thing, from helping with school to playing tennis with the kids and handling the rest. But as time proceeded, it got really good and was lots of fun. I think it absolutely was easier for Timothée to simply accept that I was teaching him something, because he previously no other choice! In general, I try to steer clear of their tennis. I watch everything, but I never say any such thing. I’m always in the back ground.
It’s funny, nonetheless it was not so great on the court by the end for Timothée. He was prepared to play with someone else! Even so, I was very happy to have the opportunity to spend considerable time with him. Now, our club just began opening, so I could bring my kids because of their first lesson since the coronavirus started spreading. They are happy — they are maybe not stuck using their father as their coach!
I haven’t played much myself despite the court in our backyard. I’m the sort of person who must know when I’m planning to start again to make preparations. I’m maybe not young anymore. It’s nothing like I can go and practise full-on for four months. I just can’t do it. If I did start like that, I’d be dead and get injured.
My idea was to rest and to make an effort to stay healthy and in good shape and to have 8 weeks to prepare when tournaments begin. I just started two weeks ago very slowly and I’m trying to practise again and I’m planning to go increasingly more.
When the tour resumes, I won’t be worried about any specific results. I’m 35, also to me the outcomes are not it is important anymore. The main goal will be happy on the court. I would like to take much more pleasure throughout the matches. I enjoy play tennis, I like to practise. This may be the sport I am going to love forever. I frequently say I would be the individual who loves tennis more than anyone. I can watch it at all levels, and I really believe everything concerning the sport is interesting. The only problem is when I play matches.
I have the will to perform as best I will to achieve good stuff, and sometimes because of that stress and the pressure to play well, the pleasure sometimes disappears. I’ve too many thoughts of, ‘Hey I want to win. I want to accomplish this, I want to do that.’ I would like to invest more amount of time in the match enjoying what I’m doing.
This is the time in my life when I’m super good at tennis, and that’s a great thing. I need to make an effort to forget the rest. That’s the past goal I’ve on the tennis court. The results will come, or they will not. But I’m pretty confident basically do things the right way I am going to have great results. If I don’t, it will very nearly be the end of my career. Maybe I’ll say, ‘I’ve suffered enough.’
– as told to Andrew Eichenholz