People I meet are often intrigued about my unique situation as a tour wife. Invariably one of the first questions I always get about my unconventional lifestyle is: “What do you actually do all day?”
I feel like this is such a difficult question to answer because our schedule is so varied week to week. I genuinely don’t have a normal day to day routine. Our team’s habits, needs, and plans are always changing and shifting, and as a result I have to be adaptable.
However, because of this interest, I decided to use this blog post to highlight what a “typical” (or maybe not so typical) day in my life is like. We are in the throes of the US Open, one of the biggest events of the year, and with Kevin having reached the fourth round, the stakes are getting higher and higher. Being in New York, in one of the biggest cities we visit, my schedule was jam packed from the get go:
6:30 a.m. – I wake up with a start from the sound of the blinds being reeled open in the hotel room next to ours. I check the time discreetly on my phone and see that it is still VERY early. I have to lie quietly in bed so I do not disturb Kevin. His sleep is of the upmost importance so his body can repair and recover from the difficult matches he has had so far this week. Also, with a match later this evening, I know Kevin is hoping to sleep in at least until 8am if he can; I close my eyes and try to drift off for a few more hours.
8:30 a.m. – Kevin wakes up, and so do I. Usually Kevin is an earlier riser than I am, so he typically manages breakfast on his own. Today I have plans with a friend, so I ask if he can grab me a coffee while he is picking up his own meal at a healthy spot near our hotel. I use this time to shower and get ready for the day; since Kevin plays a match later I need to plan what I am going to wear to the tennis too. On match days I usually wear something a little bit “dressier” than my average everyday casualwear; I find this helps me look and feel appropriate. I am a big fan of casual dresses because it takes the guesswork out of packing and putting together an outfit. Dressing for the climate is also important; it has been hot here so far so I make sure I will be comfortable based on the forecast.
10:00 a.m. – Kevin’s physiotherapist (@FloThePhysio) has stopped in to give Kevin a treatment before they head off to the courts. He kindly gives me a 30-minute treatment session before I head out for the plans I made this morning with my girlfriend. Although I skipped the gym today, I usually aim to fit in some form of fitness 5 or 6 days a week. Florian’s mini-treatments are helping to keep me in great shape. I try to make the most of hotel gyms, outdoor running, or workout classes in the cites we visit. In New York I have really been enjoying SoulCycle.
10:45 a.m. – I meet for breakfast with my friend, which is really nice. I don’t often have friends to hang out with at every tournament, so being in New York City with so many people around is really great. After breakfast we take a little walk and do some shopping in Manhattan. Neither of us buys anything. I find shopping can be a little hard when you live out of a suitcase!
1:00 p.m. – I meet up with friends who came in from Boston to watch the tennis this afternoon. We make a quick stop for healthy smoothies in the city before catching the shuttle out to Flushing Meadows.
3:00 p.m. – Although not a common occurrence, I have received an interview request from the BBC. They are pre-empting a fourth round clash between my husband and Andy Murray. I superstitiously try to push that thought out of my mind; I like to stay in the present during tournaments, not looking too far ahead of the task at hand. I feel looking at who the next opponent might be, or what amount of points Kevin would win if he reaches the next round simply breeds stress and anxiety. “Focus on the third round,” I remind myself.
First, I nervously chat with Russell Fuller, and we pre-record a segment for BBC radio. Kevin always makes his press requests look so easy, and I realize I have a newfound respect for his calm and composed manner during interviews. Russell is a seasoned professional with engaging questions; at the end of our chat he gave me the nicest complement, saying that I could have a career in journalism (good thing I didn’t tell him I was nervous!).
Next, I meet with Piers Newbery and Simon Cambers who ask a number of similar questions about my life as a tour wife and my role on Kevin’s team. Their questions are inquisitive and interesting. Some questions really make me think, for example: “Do you plan to stay on the road with Kevin until the end of his career?” This question is something I had never given any thought to until this exact moment. After some thought, I respond “Yes, I hope to!” Their article will post in the next day or so, so I will have to wait in anticipation to see the resulting post. I thank both for their interest in my story, and as I walk away I keep hoping to myself that I came across as kind, thoughtful and professional.
4:00 p.m. – I meet up with my friends again, who during my interviews have started to participate in the fun of the US Open with a few Grey Goose “Honey Deuce” cocktails. Usually I would be hanging out in the player’s lounge before a match but the US Open does such a great job making the tournament a real “event,” so I enjoy this opportunity to be out and about on the grounds with my pals.
We go to the Polo Ralph Lauren merchandise shop where I pick out a few gifts for my family. The tournament gave Kevin a merchandise gift card as part of our player gift, so I pick out something for myself as well. Next we head off to have a bite to eat. I have had my eyes on the Morris’ gourmet grilled cheese food truck outside of court 17 all week, so I decide to splurge and it does not disappoint! I tell my friends that I think US Open does a particularly good job with their on-site food and beverage options.
5:30 p.m. – We check the scores, and there is still an entire doubles match to go on Kevin’s match court, so we decide to head up to the Heineken Beer Garden to get off our feet. My friends continue to drink and ask if I want a beer. “I can’t, I’m working,” I tell them jokingly. I am far too nervous and serious about the match ahead to partake. We spot some sleeping fans in the beer garden; as it gets later and later I start to think they might have the right idea! With long and sometimes unpredictable matches, tennis can often be a big waiting game like this for the spectators hoping to see a specific player.
6:50 p.m. – With the match ahead nearly finished, I decide to head down to the court to save some seats nearby the players box for our large group of friends. There are only 6 seats reserved for our team, and we have a large crew of family, friends, college coaches, sponsors and even our accountant in tow. I do my best grab as many seats as I can near the box.
7:00 p.m. – The players take the court and now my nerves are really fired up. Kevin’s coach and Physio arrive to the box. They always bring towels and water for myself and our other fans, which is really nice. As I sit there anxiously, I just keep hoping that Kevin plays his own game; if he does that I know he will have a shot to win. As the match progresses Kevin gets a break in the first set and I calm down a bit when he clinches it 6 3.
The second set is closer, and though admittedly I am NOT a tennis expert, Thiem seems to be playing a little better by really swinging away. The tension mounts again as we all cheer for Kevin, who saves several break points. Outside of our small army of friends, the crowd at this point seems firmly behind the Austrian. When they start to slow clap on break points, I know it won’t rattle Kevin; he played countless college tennis matches where he has experienced far rowdier fans. Despite scraping by in a closely contested set, Kevin wins the second set tiebreaker convincingly and I am thrilled.
8:15 p.m. – With the first two sets under Kevin’s belt, I decide to run to the ladies room. I don’t want to leave the court because this means I will miss the first 3 games of the third set, but there is no other option. As I wait outside the stadium to return to my seat, I check my phone to see what people are saying about the match on twitter. Everyone seems to be posting positive things about Kevin’s game and his stats look great.
The final set is also an incredibly close contest. Both players serve well and the fans seem hopeful that Thiem will turn it around so they can see some more tennis. An obnoxious fan ignores proper tennis etiquette and shouts out something between Kevin’s first and second serve; I pray that won’t affect Kevin or add to his nerves as he nears the possibility of his first fourth round result at the US Open. Despite a few match points, Kevin doesn’t convert and the third set will also be decided in a tiebreaker.
9:00 p.m. – At this point my nerves are at their peak. I keep shouting positive encouragement at Kevin, doing my part to will him to a win. He doesn’t disappoint, and plays a confident and aggressive tiebreaker. He hits a humongous forehand winner on match point and abruptly tosses his racquet to the ground in victory. I am overjoyed and proud, as our team celebrates.
9:30 p.m. – Kevin has to stretch and shower before his press scheduled at 10pm. I grab a quick bite to eat out on the grounds and then head over to the transportation to catch a ride back to the city with the team.
10:00 p.m. – We wait for Kevin, all cheering when he emerges from the player courtyard. He eats a quick bite of food from the player’s restaurant while we are in the car on the way back to Manhattan.
11:00 p.m. – It is late, and as much as we would love to celebrate, we are aware of the job ahead. We say goodnight to our friends and promise to meet them for breakfast before they leave the city tomorrow. When we get back to the room, Kevin begrudgingly does a treatment session with his physiotherapist; I know he would rather go to sleep. His dedication and professionalism continues to amaze me.
11:30 p.m. – We find a video of Kevin’s match point on the Internet and enjoy watching it a few times. Before going to sleep, I try to respond to all the kind messages I’ve received from friends, family and fans. Exhausted but happy, we finally turn down for bed after a long but rewarding day.