Looking to the future
On 5 July at 10:27 pm, my wife, Ali, gave birth to our first child, Marlowe Mary. We are so excited to be parents! Having kids is an awesome thing. It gives you an entirely different perspective on life. Of course some things will change - but sleep won't be one of them. I wasn’t a big sleeper before and I don’t expect to be a big sleeper now. When Marlowe was born, I sent a text out to everyone which said: "Marlowe Mary - born 5 July, 8 and a half pounds. Mum and baby doing well. First Grand Slam 2028 Australian Open." When she’s 16! Of course there's no pressure, but the tennis players I'd most like her to emulate would be - the competitive attitude of Maria Sharapova, the confidence of Serena Williams, and the overall approach of Sam Stosur. Sam has a great work ethic and doesn’t get caught up in all the rigmarole. She’s a world-class athlete.
Australian Open preparations
We’re right in the middle of finalising the Eastern Plaza. We’ve got the roof going over Margaret Court and at the same time we are getting the site ready for 2013. We stop construction in December and the site will be ready early January. People will still be able to view matches on Margaret Court Arena and we will have activations around there as well.
At the Australian Open launch in October, we will be revealing new court furniture. The final design looks fantastic. We stayed with a contemporary theme, which is very functional and typical of the Australian Open, setting the standard by making something really cool. It will be great for TV and the players will really love it.
We like to lead the way in compensation and we hold the view that the players should be compensated well, not just at the Slams, but across the board. We think that if you’re a player ranked inside 200, you should be earning a living and your career should be sustainable. In Australia, you’ve got to be ranked 108 in the men and 85 in the women to break even, that includes travel and the cost of a coach. With AFL, there are 800 players making a good living and with golf there are around 300 players. Tennis needs to be much more attractive financially. It’s not just a Grand Slam problem, it’s a sport problem and we have to address Challengers, Futures, Tour events and the Slams. We’ll put our money where our mouth is and continue to drive prizemoney increases at the Slams.
I won’t be going and it will be the first Olympics I’ve missed for a long time. Instead, I’ll be rocking the cradle and watching a lot on TV! The Australian Olympic Committee has done a great job in getting our teams ready. In tennis, Andy Murray would be a hot favourite. If he plays the kind of tennis that he did at Wimbledon, he will respond well to the home crowd. The Olympics is an entirely different dynamic and Murray is a good player. He’ll win a Grand Slam.
Roger’s great feat
I’m a Roger Federer fan and I’ve known him for a long time. Now he’s beaten Pete Sampras’ record for weeks as No.1. Everyone counted him out and said he was the end of his career. The only people who didn’t were the team around him. Never bet against him - you’d be foolish if you do. Roger knows how to win at every Grand Slam and he’ll win more. He’s 30 years old and he’s given an indication he will play another four to five years, at least. Some of the younger guys will be stopping before Roger does.