New dad Rafael Nadal warned its not easy to combine tennis and fatherhood
Rafael Nadal became a first-time father last week, but the 22-time Grand Slam winner is likely to experience several changes to his tennis routine, says Mischa Zverev.
The reigning Australian Open and French Open champion’s wife Mery Perello gave birth to a boy in Mallorca last Saturday.
And he is not the only new parent on the tennis scene as 2021 US Open champion Daniil Medvedev announced that his wife Daria gave birth to a girl on Friday while tennis couple Elina Svitolina and Gael Monfils also welcomed a girl on Saturday.
Zverev, older brother to fellow tennis player Alexander Zvererv, knows a thing or two about juggling parenthood and tennis as he is a father of two boys.
In an interview with Eurosport Germany, he explained how things are likely to change for Nadal, but his comments are applicable to all new parents.
“Life will change extremely – for the woman, but also for the father. You have to train for two, three hours every morning, then it’s regeneration or fitness,” he said. “Normally you warm up for half an hour, then you train for two hours, then an hour of regeneration.”
He continued: “I know this from myself: when you have a child, you also sometimes say: ‘I’ll do regeneration tomorrow and I don’t need to warm up today’. So three and a half hours of training in the morning become two or one and a half.”
And the 35-year-old Zverev admits sometimes you have this mental battle about what to do.
“You have to think about how you want to approach it, how selfish – even that sounds stupid. Tennis or family? It’s not easy to combine the two. For me, family has always come first,” he said.
Getting up in the middle of the night is never ideal, but it is part of being a parent.
“You have to get up at night and help, that’s not ideal before a match. It may be different with Rafa,” Zverev said.
Of course being financially successful, Nadal is likely to have it a little “easier” than players who lower down the rankings.
“When you’re as successful as Rafa, however, you have the financial means to take so many people with you that everyday life can run smoothly. That makes it easier,” Zverev said.
“It’s different with players who are ranked around 50th or 60th in the world rankings. You have your wife and coach with you, and suddenly the kid, too.”
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