The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY TV -

Hav­ing grown up with an un­usual name, for­mer Olympic swimmer Gi­aan Rooney has em­pa­thy for ten­nis play­ers with multi-syl­labic sur­names.

“I think No­vak Djokovic was a great ex­am­ple,” she says.

“I re­mem­ber watch­ing an in­ter­view and he was asked, ‘How do we say your name?’ He was like, ‘No-vack Jock-o-vitch’, and ev­ery­one was like, ‘fi­nally!’ be­cause we didn’t know. There are very few names that are not ques­tion­able th­ese days, in any sport, but ten­nis par­tic­u­larly. And com­ing from me, that’s say­ing some­thing.”

Rooney has boned up on her pro­nun­ci­a­tion in prepa­ra­tion for the 2015 Aus­tralian Open, where she is part of the com­men­tary team for Chan­nel 7.

It’s her sec­ond stint re­port­ing at the ten­nis, but she missed last year, as she was heav­ily preg­nant with her first son, Zan­der, who is nearly 10 months old.

“This is my first foray back into proper full-time work since I’ve had him. I’ve been lucky to do part time for a while now, and that’s worked out bril­liantly. We don’t have any fam­ily in Mel­bourne, so I’ve flown my lovely mum down from the Gold Coast and she’s be­ing our babysit­ter for a cou­ple of weeks. Oth­er­wise we would’ve been quite stuck.”

An av­er­age day at the ten­nis ... well, she ad­mits there’s no such thing. Rooney’s brief is to find sto­ries off-court, “those in­ter­est­ing tit­bits about play­ers that peo­ple might not know”, and she will jug­gle ten­nis du­ties with read­ing the week­end weather read­ing in Mel­bourne.

If nec­es­sary, she might even pick up a rac­quet dur­ing the tour­na­ment — in a strictly pro­fes­sional ca­pac­ity.

“I get on court and have a lit­tle hit and em­bar­rass my­self,” she says. “I did ev­ery (sport) grow­ing up. But once you’re in swimming, and show prom­ise, it’s all about swimming.”

Gi­aan Rooney is cov­er­ing the Aus­tralian Open.

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