Nenad Zimonjic: Seeing double
Thursday 28 January 2010
By Nenad Zimonjic
This is my 12th year playing at the Australian Open and life has changed a lot - in a good way – since I first played here back in 1999. I’m a father to 14-month-old twins now, a son Leon and a daughter, Luna. I was very lucky because they were born on December 3 in 2008, which is our off-season so for seven or eight days I was with them, and my wife in hospital, non-stop helping as much as I could.
It was tough leaving them and head out to Australia at the beginning of last year. The thing I was most afraid of was that they’d forget me when I got back home and it meant so much to me when I returned from Melbourne that even though they were still very little, I got a big smile from them. It’s getting more and more difficult to leave them now because they’re growing up and there is more interaction and they realize what’s happening but Skype helps a lot because I can see them and talk to them when I am traveling.
Life is much nicer when you go back home after a stressful day and, no matter what happens, you get a smile back from your kids. It helps you forget about tough times on the court much more easily. Now I try to make the most of it when I’m on the road, traveling and playing. I try to do as well as I can because I know that I’m missing a lot every day that I don’t spend with my family and kids. It’s a big sacrifice so I have to make that worthwhile by doing well on court.
As tennis players we travel so much so it’s always nice to go back home. The best part is now when I’m doing well in a tournament it’s great, but if I lose I get to go home, get to see the kids and maybe spend an extra few days with them.
We’ve started traveling with them now a bit too and we try to come together on the trips where we predict we’re going to stay a little longer. They were with me in Doha two weeks ago and last year we went to Roland Garros together and after that we were together in London during Queens and Wimbledon so we spent almost a month and a half together. We rented an apartment and it was more like a home atmosphere for them.
There are a lot more kids nowadays on the tour, especially among the doubles players who are a little bit older. Tournaments are well organized for kids these days and although our kids are still too young to stay at the crèche, when they start walking maybe we’ll leave them there and my wife can watch the matches and be relaxed that they are fine.
We are thinking about bringing the twins to the Australian Open next year or the year after. We just have to make the plans, with the kids now that’s the difference - you have to plan a long time ahead.
There are a lot of things that I can see they would like in Melbourne; a really nice aquarium and the zoo with all the Australian animals is also very nice. Just generally for them to see something different, a different continent I think it’s nice for them and It’s good for them that they get to be around more people and learn more languages.
So far they’ve had the chance to see the States in Miami, they went to Austria with us when we were skiing, so they’ve had the chance to experience different things. Melbourne is a nice city, it’s the summer time here and if you’re doing really well at the tournament you can stay here at least two and a half weeks so that could be a good enough reason to bring them here.