A round of golf and abig roast lunch

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - Front Page -

My week­ends be­gin when I col­lect my two kids [Scar­lett, seven, and John James, four] from school. Our fam­ily home is in Bat­tersea, south west Lon­don, but at week­ends when I don’t have any work com­mit­ments my wife, Lucy [an ac­tress and pro­ducer], and I drive down to West Sus­sex, where we have a house near Pet­worth. We all love it there.

On Satur­day morn­ings Scar­lett and John James ei­ther have a rid­ing class or a les­son on the golf course. We like to pack their week­ends full of ac­tiv­i­ties and golf is some­thing you can learn at any age. I’m a big golf fan my­self; I think nearly all sports­men are be­cause it’s a so­cial game that still gets the com­pet­i­tive juices go­ing (es­pe­cially if you put a lit­tle wa­ger on it); but it isn’t so in­tense that you have to stop play­ing as you get older.

The chil­dren are learn­ing to play ten­nis as well but I’m not about to put them on a ca­reer path or any­thing. Ob­vi­ously I’d like them to play to a rea­son­able stan­dard but I think be­com­ing a pro­fes­sional sportsper­son is a choice you have to make your­self. If it’s the par­ents rather than the chil­dren who make that de­ci­sion, it’ll never work out well in the long run.

My two are just start­ing to un­der­stand that Daddy used to play ten­nis for a liv­ing [he re­tired in April 2007]. I still play matches like this weekend’s Sta­toil Mas­ters cham­pi­onship for vet­er­ans in the Al­bert Hall ev­ery year, and they’ll come to watch with their friends. I’m glad they get to see me play­ing in a re­laxed en­vi­ron­ment, and at th­ese old boys’ games there is noth­ing like the pres­sure I used to feel when my liveli­hood de­pended on win­ning. I still get a bit ner­vous be­fore a game but I have to re­mem­ber it’s more about en­ter­tain­ing the crowds at a his­toric venue and reminiscing with the guys I used to play against than any­thing se­ri­ous. Most of the gang on my old cir­cuit live abroad, so I don’t see them reg­u­larly, ex­cept for Boris [Becker], who does Sky com­men­tary with me. Re­tire­ment has made us all more so­cia­ble, how­ever, and we go out for din­ner when we can. It’s a nice change of pace and you ac­tu­ally have to be care­ful that you don’t en­joy it too much. Of­ten when high-level play­ers leave a sport they put on a lot of weight be­cause they sud­denly find them­selves do­ing ab­so­lutely noth­ing, so while I re­ally don’t miss the hard fit­ness ses­sions in the gym, I do still make an ef­fort to keep my­self in check phys­i­cally. I love rollerblad­ing in Bat­tersea Park and I’ll go for cy­cle Drink of choice?

Avodka and tonic. On your iPod?

Cold­play or Ri­hanna; I’ll lis­ten to what­ever’s pop­u­lar at the mo­ment. Best ad­vice?

Don’t make the same mis­take twice. Ca­reer high­light?

The 1997-99 years, when I was the world num­ber one for in­door ten­nis. Best young Bri­tish player right now?

The 18-year-old Kyle Ed­mund. He’s got the right at­ti­tude. If he keeps work­ing hard I’m sure he’ll do well. Favourite place?

Lon­don is one of the great­est cities in the world. Will Arse­nal win the Pre­mier League?

It’s un­likemeto be pes­simistic but no, not un­less they buy two new strik­ers in the Jan­uary sales. rides or runs – that keeps you healthy men­tally too.

That said, one of our favourite ac­tiv­i­ties on a weekend when we’re in the coun­try is to head over to nearby Pet­worth House, where there’s an amaz­ing choco­late shop and a fish and chip shop that keeps us all very happy. In Lon­don, we of­ten make a fam­ily trip to Bor­ough Mar­ket, which is al­ways packed at week­ends. I love the fact that you can buy ev­ery­thing you can pos­si­bly imag­ine at Bor­ough. There’s one par­tic­u­lar place I al­ways go back to where they debone fresh chicken and make the most amaz­ing wraps.

In the evenings my wife and I might see a film at the cin­ema or go to the the­atre in the West End to catch a com­edy or a drama (I don’t en­joy mu­si­cals per se, but we are see­ing Char­lie and the Choco­late Fac­tory with the kids this year) or we’ll just go out for din­ner. I’m quite ad­ven­tur­ous with food be­cause ob­vi­ously I’ve trav­elled the world play­ing ten­nis, and Lon­don’s got it all. Lucy’s job can get very de­mand­ing at times, and I’m busier now than I ever have been – I work around 200 days a year – so we have to make the most of the gaps when we’re not work­ing to spend time to­gether.

Nearly ev­ery­thing in my pro­fes­sional life is still in­volved in ten­nis one way or another. I do my com­men­tary for Sky and Eurosport on all the ten­nis grand slams and Mas­ters se­ries, and I play on the ATP Cham­pi­ons Tour. I’m an am­bas­sador for the Lawn Ten­nis As­so­ci­a­tion too, so I spend about 100 days a year coach­ing kids be­tween the ages of 14 and 20, open­ing fa­cil­i­ties and trav­el­ling around the coun­try see­ing the best new play­ers. I en­joy work­ing with young­sters, catch­ing up on what progress is be­ing made and guess­ing who is go­ing to be the Andy Mur­ray of the fu­ture. It’s been amaz­ing to watch Andy’s progress and his win at Wim­ble­don this sum­mer wasn’t even a sur­prise. I pre­dicted it be­fore the tour­na­ment be­gan; I just felt like he was at the top of his game. It was still a mag­i­cal mo­ment see­ing the

Full stretch: Greg now plays Mas­ters matches, above; and en­joys fam­ily time with wife Lucy, left

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