Dear Charlene and Myla,
Wanted to wish you girls a Happy 4th Birthday! Hope you had a great day filled with love, joy, laughter and lots of cake! There is, however, another reason for this letter too. I also wanted to also say thank you for being such a source of happiness and inspiration for your father.
I know you know him as your dad who takes you to the zoo but do you know he plays a little bit of tennis too? You know when he seems to randomly come and go at odd times during the day? That’s when he either goes to practice tennis or to play tennis matches when he thrills us with elegance, grace and poise that is unique to him and no one else in the whole wide world. I know you can’t count that high yet but he has over 13 million of us who are his fans on facebook! We tune in from all over the world to marvel at your dad; he’s a magician who casts a spell on us with his racquet. I know it’s not as fun as when he reads out stories to the both of you, but trust me, for us, there’s no one like him.
I am writing to you at a crucial period in your father’s tennis life. He is going through some difficult times. He hasn’t won many matches lately. He suffered some shocking losses and seems to lack confidence. On top of that, his back keeps bothering him too. I’m glad you can’t read the newspapers and surf the internet yet because all sorts of awful things are being written about him that are untrue, hurtful, mean and disrespectful.
However, if you do come across these pointless opinions when you are older, I want you to know not all of us believed that drivel. Sure, there were those who jumped ship, but honestly, if they weren’t loyal enough to stick around for the lows, would you really believe them if they celebrated him when it went well? That pseudo fandom serves no purpose so good riddance! As for the rest of us, we were distressed for sure, because it pained us to see him struggle. But what kept us going was that he never gave up, he never looked back. He knew he needed some hard core practice time so he took 7 weeks off the tour while his rivals won titles. Once he was back and didn’t get the expected results he realized he needed more match practice and added two tournaments to his schedule. He kept tweaking his strategy and took another scary step and changed his racquet. While the world kept writing him off, he kept his focus, kept trying new ideas, and remained positive and resolute.
But I know you’re not surprised at his reaction, you know how he is, he’s your dad after all. When he puts his mind to something, he gets it done. Well we know it too and we’re sticking with him for as long as it takes because we admire him; not just for his tennis skills, but also for his resilience, his determination, his honesty, his hunger and his magnanimity. I hope he knows how much love, appreciation and respect he receives from the world and draws positive energy from us.
What none of us can do however, is make him smile when he’s off the courts, off the camera and goes home after a bad day. That’s where you two come in! You play with him, roll around with him, and talk to him about your day. You make him forget his troubles and help him find peace and perspective. And I firmly believe that is a major reason why he is still continuing to play today. You girls have made it work. You travel with no fuss, sit through long plane rides and put up with customs and immigration. You move from hotel to hotel packing up your books, toys and cartoons and you have to put up with people taking photos of you wherever you go. Despite all this hassle you even find time watch some of his matches with mommy, Uncle Sev, Uncle Stephane and Uncle Paul. You are absolute troopers!
We’re there for him during the matches but you’re there for him before and after them. You make sure he is loved and hugged no matter what the score line is. And for that I wanted to thank you both on your special day. Please continue to take care of your dad, like you’ve done so far. He is quite precious to us! Not only for the staggering records and dazzling tennis, but also because he’s a pretty nice guy and just awesome in every way! 😀
—A fan, one of millions