I hope everyone out there is doing well and continuing to play their part in flattening the curve.
My wife, Abby, and I welcomed our first child in February, a baby boy named Ford. Having an eight-week-old baby takes up plenty of time, so I’ve just been doing the full-time dad thing now. Ford is a family name on my wife’s side, her grandmother’s maiden name, and it popped up to us a few months before he was born.
He sleeps for about 15 hours a day, but when he’s up, he’s in our laps and we’re playing games, reading books, going on neighbourhood walks or listening to music. It’s been really fun to be part of his life every day for these first two months. That’s the silver lining in this because I probably would have missed a lot of those early days due to tournaments.[TENNIS AT HOME]
The most rewarding part of being a dad is getting to the point now where I can put him in my lap and he’ll laugh or smile. He could be a total pain in the butt for 48 hours and all is forgotten if he gives you that one reaction. I just wasn’t expecting the amount of diapers he goes through! It feels like you put one on him and then he goes to the bathroom a minute later.
We also have a one-year-old chocolate lab named Ruby and she’s got so much energy, so that adds an interesting element to the mix. We’re taking her on four walks a day and making sure she runs around, but she’s struggled a bit with not getting the same amount of attention. She’ll try to lick Ford’s face and we’re constantly having to shoo her away from the baby, but hopefully Ruby will get more comfortable around her and they can learn to be friends.
We had a lot of family help in the beginning with Ford. My parents live a mile away, so they were over constantly along with my sister and her husband, but it’s basically just the three of us now that we’re on lockdown. My parents have come over a couple of times and we might go for a walk along the street, but we’ll space ourselves out to adhere to social distancing guidelines and my wife and I are not letting anyone else hold the baby.
The time at home would be great if it were a normal situation. I do enjoy the off-season and having the routine for those two months of seeing family and friends or going out to dinner, but it’s more of a mental struggle now because of the circumstances. You can get into a routine, but it’s a boring routine!
If I didn’t have a newborn at the house, I’d probably be losing my mind. I’m struggling a little bit and I think that everyone probably is. The unknown is the toughest part. If it were a case of, “Okay, on 8 July, everything will go back to normal,” it would be a little easier to grasp. There’s so much uncertainty now and that makes it tough to get your schedule down. I’m riding the peloton and doing home workouts when I can, but it can sometimes be a battle to get motivated when you know your next tournament won’t be for awhile.
I’m just trying to be an optimist and really looking forward to getting back out there soon. I don’t care what tournament or level it is. I just want to play! Even though the clay-court swing is normally not my favourite part of the season or where I’ve had my best results, I’d give anything to be competing in any of the European clay-court tournaments now or even face Nadal in them!
I had perhaps taken for granted how nice the past 13 years have been in terms of being able to pick whatever tournament you want and then go play it. But since that’s been taken away now, I would happily go play my least favorite tournament starting tomorrow if I had the opportunity.