“So Gaël, how’s it going?”
It’s the simplest, most everyday question. But one we never really think to answer. I mean, to really answer. Like most of us, I usually just say, “I’m good, man. You?” and move on. But so much stuff has happened in the last few months, and I wanted a way to share my news, experiences, and thoughts with you in a more direct, authentic way.
In short, let these posts be my genuine answer to the question, “So, Gaël, how’s it going?”
Basically, I hope to give you a behind-the-scenes look into my life, explore my own (many) interests outside of tennis, share some of the highs and lows of my career for those who’d like to hear about them… But also to get your thoughts, answer your questions, and start real conversations.
What I’ll try to avoid: teaching lessons. I’ve met a lot of lesson-givers in this life. I don’t feel a need to be one of them. Obviously I’ve learned things throughout my career, and I’ll talk about my personal experiences. But don’t expect any posts with names like “10 ways to cultivate resilience” or anything like that.
If you’re here, it’s because you’re probably familiar with my career as a tennis player, so hopefully I can skip the intro. I’m gonna dive straight into some life updates instead.
As some of you are aware, I’ve been off the court the last few months recovering from an injury—a torn fascia I got last August, right in the middle of a match. (Basically, I busted my foot in front of 10,000 people. Yeah, you can find the video online.) I’ve also got what’s called a calcaneal spur, so, lucky me! Obviously, it’s been super frustrating—especially since I was playing some of my best games at the start of this year, getting up to #20 in the world rankings. I’m lucky that I’m surrounded by awesome physios who are helping me get back on track for next year (though I’m thinking protected ranking is likely in the cards for me). That said, in one huge way, this injury has been an incredible blessing in disguise—which brings me to my next update…
I’m a dad! Elina and I welcomed our first baby, Skaï, about a month and a half ago. Because of my injury, I was able to spend much more time with both her and our new daughter than I ever could have in a normal season where I was traveling, training, and playing. I got to be with Elina every day throughout the end of her pregnancy and be there for her completely during the birth. People ask me how it feels to be a father, and to be honest, I don’t really have the words. It’s indescribable, incredible love. I get joy from the smallest interaction with Skaï—sometimes I’m tempted to wake her up from a nap just to play with her (don’t worry guys, I don’t). I finally get what people mean when they used to tell me I’d “understand when it happened”. I say the same thing to my friends now. Skaï is already my world—so in a sense, I’m really grateful this injury happened when it did. And as much as I can’t wait to be back on the court, part of me is already feeling kind of guilty and sad that I’ll have to be away from Elina and our daughter. Anyway, I’m sure I’ll have more to share about my experience juggling fatherhood with a professional sporting career, so stay tuned for that. Btw, parents (and especially, athletes slash parents) who are reading this, if you’ve got any good tips for me, I’m all ears! Feel free to drop me a comment below.
As if a newborn wasn’t keeping me busy enough, I’ve also been working on some new non tennis-related projects, including the launch of this site and blog, producing my first vlogs on YouTube, creating a podcast with people who inspire me (more on that later), and of course, finding new ways to connect with my community over on LinkedIn. I’ll share stuff I’m working on with you here and there: stay tuned!
Ok, ok—now it’s your turn to talk. I’d love to know what subjects you’re personally curious to hear about, what experiences you’d like me to share, what questions you have (if any). Drop me a line in the comments below. Otherwise, thanks for reading, and I’ll see you around.