Name: Nathan Healey
Home State: NSW
Playing Period: 1998 – 2008
BTT: So, what are you doing now, and where are you based? So what are you doing now and where are you based?
NH: I am coaching tennis (and life) on the Central Coast of NSW at Wyong TC. I am also working with Max Purcell. I have been working with him since March 2019.
BTT: Looking back at your playing career, what are some of the moments of achievements you are most proud and the funniest or most memorable moment?
NH: The best achievements of my playing career include 3 doubles titles. However, switching from doubles to singles at age 24 and reaching the 3rd round of the Australian Open 2 years later is what I’m most proud of, however, more importantly, my history as a tennis player has given me material to evolve as a human
The funniest moment was playing World Team Tennis with Andrew Florent. We sung True Blue to the crowd when it rained during one of the matches Most memorable was probably playing with Agassi and with Borg against McEnroe.
BTT: Reflecting on your pro tennis career, what are the takeaways from it? And how did it prepare you for life beyond?
NH: My takeaways from the tour are that it’s filled with highs and lows if one is not aware of the bigger picture. If the intention for playing is focused around winning, becoming famous, or making money, then true success is unattainable. I was certainly on that train of playing for the wrong reasons, but from where I stand now, I feel blessed to have these lessons for my growth.
BTT: How long before you officially retired, were you thinking about the end of your career and what was the actual process of quitting like for you?
NH: I didn’t prepare for life after the tour; it just happened. In 2008 I was hampered with a groin injury. Lleyton Hewitt then asked me to coach him, and the rest is history. Ending his 15 match losing streak against Federer was a proud coaching moment.
BTT: In the first few years after retiring, what did things look like, and what did you do to stay busy. Was it a difficult transition for you?
NH: Life after playing was challenging with a young family. I was based in the USA, and at times I felt a little flat, bored and lifeless. However, I surrounded myself with incredible teachers (Adyashanti, Byron Katie, Eckhart Tolle), which helped me settle and see things clearly. I completed many silent retreats and became very introspective.
BTT: What advice would you have for a current player in terms of preparing for life after the tour?
NH: Advice for young players is to seek out mentors that can help you see life clearly. Tennis is a metaphor for life. Get things correct off the court, and your best tennis will be available if success in the traditional sense is on the cards, then it will be filled with depth and joy.
BTT: What involvement do you still have in the tennis industry? And in the tennis world more generally?
NH: As mentioned, I am connected to tennis by running a small coaching business at Wyong and working full time with Max Purcell.
BTT: Since retiring, do you ever find time to catch up with old tennis mates?
NH: I see old tennis friends such and Knoxy and others that are still coaching on tour.
BTT: Would you like to re-connect or have more opportunities to connect with the former player community?
NH: I don’t necessarily need to connect with former players, but it’s sweet when it happens.
BTT: How important is this to you? Most athletes have a distinct purpose aspiring to be the best they can….with that chapter closed, what would you say your mission is now?
NH: I currently feel like my purpose is to be a mentor to my kids and other young adults. My passion is human evolution.
Nathan, thank you for sharing your insights, Max certainly has a fantastic mentor in you, and we hope to see you soon!