It was enough when Roger Federer would pack up his gear to go on tour having wife, Mirka and his team with him, but when the twins girls Myla and Charlene were born, tennis took on a whole new meaning. Federer says of having children mixed with tennis, “All depends on what your priority is: is it tennis or family…for me, I mean, I love my family and that’s what it is”. The time started moving when that 2nd set of Federer twins was born, Leo and Lenny and then another top player, Novak Djokovic became father to his 1st child, son Stephan.
The idea of having a child and thinking about providing for and being responsible for another human being does change the routine dynamics of everyday tennis life and life itself. A tennis player who must think about being on time for their practice sessions and if they can continue to maintain mental strength as well as hold it together physically to win the match are the basic points that tennis players have to contemplate. All of this has to be considered. But for the tennis player dad, he must juggle two duties of being a Dad, taking their child or children along with their wife on a vacation, be it a water park or other family-friendly places and being a tennis player that can keep it together mentally and physically to win matches. He will also have to think about where will the children be, what will they be doing and who will they be with when they are on court doing their job. Even the doubles partners Mike and Bob Bryan have their share of kids with Bob having 3 and Mike having one. Australian’s Lleyton Hewitt has 3 and had them all while on tour.
The emergence of a new daddy, Andy Murray coming on board appears to show the continuing new lifestyle of the professional tennis playing dad. He assertively said to the tennis media and tournament directors that he would have not been able to play the entire Australian Open had his wife Kim gone into an early labor. Well it happened in good time for Andy and Kim when he was able to finish the Australian Open, fly back home and be at the birth of his 1st child, daughter Sophia Olivia. As the child gets older, it would be the family’s decision if the baby will come on a tour with the wife or not. Double packing is the routine now for a baby, a child but also the routine now for a baby, a child but also the routine of keeping focused not only at practice time but during the match.
Family life can serve as a comfort, knowing that you have a little one but also it can be a distraction, if the baby or child is uncomfortable, teething, needs a diaper change, doesn’t sleep through daddy’s practice and the match. It has been documented that after Roger’s wife had the twin girls, he won the Australian Open and Wimbledon. He says that “(My children) have a massive impact on my life…it’s helped my game more than anything”.
Stan Wawrinka has a 4 year old daughter and another player Spain’s David Ferrer has 2 daughters. Long ago for male players to get married was a distraction besides from having children, while still on tour. Today, the semi-retired and retired male players had their children while not on tour. Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, McEnroe, Courier, James Blake and the list goes on.