Don’t you reckon that everyone needs to take a break from things they do from time to time? For me that break is to go home to Sydney, Australia to recharge batteries. But, while you need that break have you ever...
Don’t you reckon that everyone needs to take a break from things they do from time to time? For me that break is to go home to Sydney, Australia to recharge batteries. But, while you need that break have you ever felt at the same time as if you are totally removed from what you love to do? After a month or so at home it will be time to head off again onto the tour, but after 10 days I started twiddling my thumbs. The garden is tidied up; the backlog of work is up to date, the house is in order and all that sort of thing. I’ve been getting withdrawal symptoms and it’s not the first time. Some probably say that’s sad and would consider me to be a tragic. I genuinely miss being on the road and feel a bit out of touch even in this day and age when you can get on the internet so quickly and be updated. It’s not the same as being there. Don’t you reckon? So, is this an addiction? If it is, then I think I would rather have this type of addiction than any other type. While I type this, in my mind I am humming Robert Palmer’s song “Addicted to Love”. As he says “...might as well face it, might as well face it...” Don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic to be home with my wonderful family but I am also so fortunate to feel that the work I do is not really a job in my mind. It is an experience and one that continues to provide plenty of enjoyment and fun. How many people can say that about what they do for a living? Just recently after the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas first round between Chile and the USA, I had the day free before flying out of Santiago. I went into the Andes for the day which was just stunning, but I was going nuts because there was no phone reception. I couldn’t get anything on my Blackberry as to what was happening in tennis. I felt I was almost hyperventilating (yes tragic) and convinced the others I had to get back earlier than I needed to. I wasn’t going to say I wanted get back to check on tennis updates but, yup, that was the truth of the matter. All my good friends know that I am a shop-a-holic. Nothing gets in the way of a bargain, well almost. I have been able to time things in such a way so as not to miss a ball being hit and still spend about a $1000 without blinking. My earliest memory of not wanting to miss anything tennis wise goes back to the late 80s when the Australian season was at the end of the year. I was on a family holiday in Europe but cut short my part of the vacation and returned home. I didn’t miss a thing and continue to have a record of attending every NSW Open, now known as the Medibank International, since 1970. The Tennis Masters Cup was held in Sydney once and after that I was due to be in Los Angeles for a bit away from tennis. That year the Davis Cup final was to be played in Melbourne a week later. I flew to Los Angeles and on the 13 hour flight started to have withdrawal symptoms and decided I didn’t want to be removed from anything that would be happening in the lead-up to the Davis Cup final. I landed at LAX at 7am and 12 hours later I was on the flight back to Australia. A couple of years ago I was in Tibet where external communication is not easy. I couldn’t get my mobile phone to work and was getting desperate to know about some major results. As you’d expect tennis is not quite a priority in a city like Lhasa where the altitude is so high that newcomers are affected by headaches and altitude sickness. Getting online was possible but not reliable so I eventually spent $5.75 a minute (when the US dollar had some clout) to use the hotel phone to call colleagues in London. As soon as you dialled the number the meter started ticking. After four drop outs I managed to get the answers I wanted. On checking out, just my phone bill was $205, double the price of the room with its oxygen tank next to the bed to help with breathing problems. I needed it to be calmed down over the phone bill. Talk about an addiction, I once travelled with a very prominent player to a string of one-night exhibitions at my own expense and spent six nights in six different places, just for the heck of it. It wasn’t for work; it was just for the fun of being around the guys and being in the midst of tennis. Have you ever experienced the same feelings? I’d love to know if you’ve ever been that desperate to know a tennis result.