#790 – Heath Davidson On Acceptance & Doubt/
- July 14, 2020
Heath Davidson – Wheelchair Tennis Player
Heath Davidson is a Paralympic Gold Medallist for Wheelchair Tennis, and a motivational speaker. Heath represented Australia at the 2016 Rio Paralympics alongside Dylan Alcott to win the Men’s Quad Doubles gold medal, and in 2016 won the International Tennis Federation World Team Cup in Tokyo, Japan.
In 2016, alongside Dylan, Heath was awarded Tennis Australia’s Most Outstanding Athlete with a Disability.
On today’s episode of The Daily Talk Show, we discuss:
– Heath’s routine
– Taking care of yourself mentally and physically
– Heath’s Uber Eats go-to
– Athletes and diet
– Strength building
– Getting into tennis
– Accessibility and wheelchair tennis
– Bringing motivation and connecting with others
– Curiosity and living with a disability
– Accepting who you are
– Resilience and acceptance
– Heath’s break from tennis
– Tennis players and their relationship with their coach
– Hard work and luck
– The 2021 Paralympics
– Sports and emotions
– Success and the fear of failure
– The US Open & Heath’s friendship with Dylan Alcott
– Iso habits
– Wheelchair sports classifications
– The Last Dance
– Cadbury chocolate choices
Heath On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heathdavidson13/
Heath is an ambassador for Cadbury Australia’s Bonus Smart Watch initiative. After pledging support for the nation’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes for Tokyo 2020, Cadbury Australia has announced its encouraging people to enjoy fun and light-hearted activities whilst taking care of their overall well-being by giving away 25,000 smartwatches.
Email us: email@example.com
Send us mail: PO BOX 400, Abbotsford VIC 3067
The Daily Talk Show is an Australian talk show and daily podcast by Tommy Jackett and Josh Janssen. Tommy and Josh chat about life, creativity, business, and relationships — big questions and banter. Regularly visited by guests and gronks! If you watch the show or listen to the podcast, you’re part of the Gronk Squad.
This podcast is produced by BIG MEDIA COMPANY. Find out more at https://bigmediacompany.com/
It's the daily Talk Show Episode 790 show guest joining us today on the show Hey Davidson on the buddy welcome
how are we boys? Yeah good nice. Where we're all doing all right in lockdown. I know you're sort of down the coast in lockdown also in Victoria has has things travelling for you buddy.
Good man. It's that's really interesting for me obviously I'm a professional tennis player and I travel six six months of the year most of us so I'm having this lockdown and sort of giving me some time to be at home and just sort of relax a bit which is really good and spank have a mental health but um yeah definitely definitely came to be able to get out again and head out with the boys and have a cheeky one or two and yeah, get get some normality back into loss.
And so what is your routine like, like I can imagine as a goal. Gold medal winner like it, there's a certain routine that you have to get to people talking about the 5am Club and shit like that you getting up at five in the morning? What's the deal?
Not cool at 5am I'm normally up at around 630 get my break in and have a coffee, get ready for trading and then I'm off to try going from about nine to three every day. So on cord staff, gym stuff, fitness stuff. And then hiring, relaxing, doing all again. So that's pretty much every day. Six days away, Jim. Yeah, just that's my routine. A little bit of PlayStation here and there. And
so you've patented recovery for the smart smartwatch campaign. Encouraging. Yeah, you're encouraging Aussies to take care of themselves mentally and physically. I mean, now is the time to look inward. It's almost like as you said, your routines changed. So we're all forced to kind of look inward. Has it been something that you've been, you mentioned mental Hello, are you looking more in with the normal?
Yeah. Anyway, I mean, I'm obviously very flat out. I said at the time. So yeah, this has, this time has given me a bit of time to reflect on my mental health and getting my body right because obviously being on the right all the time you never really 100% So, yeah, it's just really good and I'm really thankful to Calgary for letting me be a part of this smartwatch campaign, which is obviously really good for athletes and really good for everyday Ozzy's to just get some light hearted and fun activities and you can track your sleep and your steps and all that sort of stuff. So yeah, it's really cool.
From a day to day perspective, I always talk on the show about my social anxieties like going out and getting coffee or shit like that can like I can really create a story and make it difficult. I can, you know, going into the lift all of that sort of shit. I can imagine being in a wheelchair having an extra thing. To be thinking about could potentially be just another thing to be worrying about. Is that something like for you day to day? How many little things happen? Or what are some of those little moments throughout the day where you think about that stuff.
It's just, I mean, I'm a pretty open and comfortable person with myself. So I'm not really, that don't really have much anxiety or anything like that. But I mean, this whole social distancing, being in wheelchairs is definitely interesting. Obviously, getting into lift it's pretty hard to social distance when you're in a wheelchair and you're sitting right next to my doubles partner while we're going up the lift hill and all caught man, but not not I mean, it's just the things were, I guess, going to the going to the shops has been a little bit more difficult because I don't want to go when there's a lot of people there because I have respiratory issues as well as my disability. So if I get sick with COVID potentially could be a lot worse to me than others so yeah, I mean it's just sort of few little changes that you have to make in a job down the shop to go get some dinner or whatever there's 300 people in the shelf I'm obviously not having that to dinner
yet so as you I managed to talk about Uber Eats nearly every episode you a guy that gets so delivered once you go to
or there's definitely a good couple hundred bucks being spent on this and because of all this stuff going on at the rates of home his got mad good. They made a fair bit of Mexican and stuff like that try to try to not get fat and
stay healthy and whatnot but yeah, Mexicans probably my go to, and I don't mind a bit of Chinese. There's there's all these annoying athletes like Michael Phelps, who Pigs out on pizza and anything you wants you say
housing cows a day Usain
Bolt eating, you know fried chicken in the Olympic Village. I mean, you're in training mode. You were you were on your way to the Olympics for 2020, which is now pushed to 2021. I mean, what's your diet look like? Are you one of those annoying athletes?
I think I could be one of those annoying athletes when I was in Rio in 2016. I think I had Max's every day.
go to McDonald's in the village. But
yeah, I do love a cheeky cheeseburger and a bit of pizza and stuff like that. But just trying to like obviously watch the calorie intake calorie intake considering we're not training as much as we have been or cool days. So I'm pretty lucky I managed to keep the weight off and yeah, stuff like that. So I am a very big junk food ADA and I do very much love The milk chocolate from carries
the, like building strength and like I guess from an athletic perspective, how much of a kiss you've got, like fucking ridiculous arms. I was watching videos last night. Not a creepy way. Sorry, is that something that you had to do based on the athletic stuff? Or is that just built in being in a wheelchair all the time.
I think it has a little bit to do with genetics, but
I guess it's sort of the same as yoga. You guys both probably have reasonably strong legs because they're being used every day. So it's similar for us, I just use my upper body so therefore my upper body is going to be probably stronger than the average black or female. So not to say that I don't love going to the gym and working on my beach muscles because everyone wants to look good without a shirt on. So I thought I'd help my tennis career. It makes me feel good
Have you got one of those Roger Federer arms that's like it almost looks like a fake arms been popped onto him because it's so easy for him is so big. I mean you're doing the wheeling so you're sort of strengthening both sides what's your measurements?
I probably couldn't give you a measurement look like I have a tennis ball and H velocity and yes the right arm the right arm is definitely bigger than the left obviously because it's my racket arm and I'm right handed say but if you really want to be difference in arm so I look at RAF an adult his left arm is ginormous compared to his right arm.
Yeah, from a sport perspective. How did you come to pick tennis as as your sport?
Man now you take me back. I was 14 I think and I was a really overweight kid. didn't really do much physical activity and sort of just went down To my local tennis club down because I grew up in Mentos and started playing tennis. And that's when I met Dylan old caught and we started playing tennis together. And it was pretty much old just to get out there and get active and was lucky enough to be somewhat talented at a sport and play it a little bit for my junior career, probably about five years when I was younger, and then had a big hiatus and came back six years ago now and yeah, just love the sport and wouldn't do anything other than tell I'd love to play football, but obviously not being able to kick a bit of an issue. Yeah.
Yeah, tennis that way.
So I mean, take us back. So that's how many years like 18 years ago that you were about 1419 years ago. I mean, at that time, I could imagine if society was slightly different, you know, there's been a lot of work around helping people with disability leave in you know, a comfortable life with You roll into a club. What is it? Is it a specific type of club? Is that someone that can guide you who is you know, in a wheelchair and wants to get you out in the court? What was the land like back then? Well, we were sort of just really lucky, I guess.
Back then we, while my dad took me down to the local Tennis Club, which wasn't really wheelchair friendly. He had had two flights of stairs to get to the bathroom and stuff. But we were lucky enough to meet a guy by the name of Marco Percy who had never coached anyone in a wheelchair before never really had anything to do with anyone with a disability. And he said, Yeah, why not? Let's give it a go. And he was my coach and Dylan's coach for pretty much all of our junior careers and he still has a lot to do with my career now. I'm really thankful that these days the inclusion is so much better. And we do have the sort of like venues They have that built which are all wheelchair accessible and I think it's just the way the world's going and there are a lot more players that are interested in coaching that are in wheelchairs. And this just a massive gathering now with disabled people in sport, which is huge
as a 14 year old was did that play in your mind when you were hitting down there?
Yeah, a little bit, but it's one of the things like more that back then I didn't really understand it know that. We could be professional athletes. Really it all cuz you'd never saw it on TV. You never really heard about it. We only got the like, brief little news when the Paralympics was on back in those days. We weren't included in any of the Grand Slams, or anything like that. So it did. I didn't think it would become something I could do for a career and it's just Really cool these days to be able to like, switch on the TV around all the time and see the likes of Bill and all the other top players in the world myself on TV, and if that helps anyone with a disability, want to get out and be active, then we're doing our jobs. So
when you go out to schools or when you're doing a presentation and you need to bring some level of motivation, where do you go? Where do you think people connect? From a motivation perspective?
I think I First off, I love going out to schools and talking to kids and stuff like that. It's one of my passions, because I had a bit of a troubled childhood and sort of went off the rails a little bit now is like teenager, into my early adulthood. And I just think that I can relate to kids, like teenagers and stuff, in a lot of ways and how life can throw curve balls at you and I guess I'm proof that you can In pretty much go from having a somewhat decent career to having nothing for a long time and then finding the love for the sport again and turning your life around so
I think my story in that sense
get kids involved and get kids like interactive and wanted talk and just know that, you know you can be gone through bad times and you can turn it around.
I mean kids can say, oh can ask some sort of dumb questions. Is there any any that gets thrown your way that you've been fascinated that kids are curious about you and your your life and and how you live it?
schools off fine kids kids do. It's pretty funny questions. One kid asked if I could be an astronaut, and I said possibly I'm not smart enough. And it's just like the standard. Can you drive a car? Yes. Can I use hand controls instead of using let's say When you go to like high schools, there's obviously other questions that get asked. And the answer to them is yes. sighs Yeah, they're just interested. I mean, most of the time, it's not even about sport. It's just about how I get on with my daily life. Like, do I sleep in a normal bed? Yes. And the things I really can't do is right up on high shelves and get it to 40 which sucks that? Yeah, you might do and I've learned to live with it, and I wouldn't change who I am. And I wouldn't change that I have a disability.
I mean, it sounds like that. You're living in your reality and you're, you're accustomed to it. It's been something that, you know, you I read that you'd had your disability since you were five months old. And do you do you get curious at the kids and they're sort of interest to understand how you were coping. I could imagine that they're seeing a different reality from their own. So we're all looking at people thinking about ourselves and projecting out. Is there any lessons that you've learned from having a disability being in a wheelchair for your life that you think that other people haven't got that they can't gauge?
I don't think there's anything that I guess. I think that all I've got that other people don't got, I think I just accepted who I was a long time ago. And once I accepted that I was in a wheelchair, and this was going to be my life, then I could move forward. But I'm never going to sit here and I would never sit here and say that my life's been worse than anybody else. Because we've all got challenges. We've all gone through troubles and my challenges might be difficult to make it easy for somebody else and like, your challenges might be difficult to you and I might think there is you to that. Yeah, I mean, growing up with a disability was difficult in a sense. I mean, I did tasted school, there were certain things that I couldn't do. My parents decided to send me to school. That was true story. And I had to get up and down stairs, which was a pain, but it was. Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't change anything in a lot. It's it's made me who I am today. And I've said in any of my motivational talks, or any school that I've ever been to, if anybody wants to get in touch and just have a chat, if they're going through some tough times, I'm open to talk, I'm not going to push you away.
It's something that I'm passionate about, and I just want to help people. So
I love the point there of accepting who you are, because I think that's what we all need to go through at some point, whether it's, you know, viewing our own body where we've come from, you know, our upbringing. That moment you sit you mentioned you accepted who you are. Do you remember that moment? Is it a days moment that you're down the shops.
It was a couple of weeks, when I was probably around 16 I've got a disabled brother as well. He's couple years older than me. He's intellectually disabled. So I never really had that sort of sibling love and I could discuss stuff with with him and what I was going through, but I was lucky enough to find my best mate to this day. He had a disabled, he has a disabled sister as well. So we were very, like, already on the front foot. And yeah, when I was about 16 obviously, I just had all those questions. Why may why this like? It's so much harder than everybody else's life and I guess talking to him and just having a really good support network through my family and friends and stuff like that. It's it's sort of just it was stop feeling sorry for yourself. It's not me Make sense? Like, this is it, this is what you've been because you've been dealt. You can either sit here and feel sorry for yourself and wallow in self pity or you can get on top of it and really try and do something with your life. And I think that was pretty much the turning point for me in the sense of not letting stuff get me down and I mean look at school I got bullied a little bit today in a wheelchair. And I guess after I had that
resolution, I think the right word would be
I was like, if these kids are bullying me because I'm in a wheelchair that I'm doing right because it means they're not bullying me about anything else. And yeah, I'm just like everybody else. Pretty much. Got tattoos. I love my advice, PlayStation. I love watching the 40 left gone down the pub for TVs in the nights
Yeah, has it really held me back in any way? And I think that's the thing like once once I did except to I was, I could go and do stuff like that. It seems like a part of it is resilience or building resilience in the lockdown game. Yeah. And so in lockdown. There's, I'm sure a bunch of people in all different types of circumstances saying right now why May, you know with with what's going on? How can you reframe that what did you find to be helpful
in lockdown pacifically or just
yeah, I think just in specifically going back to that the change for you when you that those couple of weeks when you're 16 What was it What was the mind shift that we could all use to be able to refine?
I guess the key word would be acceptance. That's just accepting the future. That you're in and making the best of it. Which is what I think majority of like Victorians are trying to do at the moment would be locked down. And the first one, like, just accept that that's what it is. And I guess don't whinge about it. Yes oxen. But we've got to just do what we got to do. I mean, I'm sure it'll all work out in the end, and it's the people that accept it and showed it, cherish it and grab it with both hands that are the ones that are gonna enjoy it. Enjoy it, I guess.
It sounds like you're taking control of what you can control. You said getting on top of it. was one of them. Do you think people need to go through? It's almost I mean, grieving is a quite a big word. Going through the stage of blaming or anger. Just when you are going through anything. What are those lessons that you pulled out of your experience?
like I think there are other stages in the same grief and you said, blaming, I blame everybody for the situation that I was in when I was younger. and stuff. So I guess it was just me finally taking a look at myself in the mirror. And yeah, I keep going back to the word accepting who I was and stuff. So
yeah. And so acceptance, there's acceptance, but then there's also progress in regards to what's happened with, you know, wheelchair sport and all that sort of stuff. So there is there is something that's obviously happening where they're allies, but there are people who want to go out and play sport. So how do you get the energy to say, hang on, like, I'm going to accept this, but I also think we should be able to do all of these other things.
Well, I mean, I think Going out and being physical and active just makes you feel better. And that's one of the things that I find like Yes, I love being a couch potato and sitting at home and watching Netflix and stuff like that. But, I mean, I don't feel anywhere near as good doing that as if I'm at going for a run or hanging out or throwing the Frisbee or playing tennis and stuff like that, or in the gym, or anything. So, I mean, it's just shifting, shifting the mind to wanting to be active, I guess, for me was a big one. And yeah, I guess there are so many opportunities now, in this day and age. Compared to back when I was a kid, like all you have to do now is jump on the internet or pick up the phone to find your local Sporting Club in this. Pretty much all sporting clubs around Australia and especially in Victoria. have access to somebody that knows somebody that Couldn't push them in the right direction with disability sports or anything like that. So
you had a seven and a half year break from tennis. Do Did you hit? Did you hit a ball at all in that time? or What did you remove yourself emotionally from the game?
I did not hit a single ball, nor did I pick up a tennis racket.
Okay, what about the pie in its place?
table tennis maybe? Yeah.
Yeah, definitely just took myself away from the sport completely. As I mentioned before, I had some troubles. went through a pretty rough patch there and stuff. So tennis wasn't on my mind at all. And then yeah, I guess everything sort of just fell into place. And yeah, seven and a half years later, I picked up a tennis racket again and I'm in the position I am today.
How do you create that change because I think going from like someone who likes being a couch potato to being a world class athlete, like, I think that that's a really unique experience that you have, what are the small changes that you made at the beginning?
A big one wasn't exactly a change that I made myself. That was my family friends really pushed me into realising that I wasn't going anywhere, and I could be something. And that really gave me the kick in the bum that I needed to. As I said, take a long hard look at myself and realising that yes, I wanted to be something and yes, if I dedicated myself to even just going back to school. I think it all started when I went back and did a fitness degree, just because I loved sport, and it got me back out, got me at school. And then obviously, you're doing I'd rang my old tennis coach who I mentioned before, and we hadn't spoken in seven years. He was he used to babysit me when my parents went away. That's how close we were. And he said, Come down, and one he turned into two hits awake and then two hits, turned into tennis Australia, giving me a phone call saying come down, try out, went down, tried out, got a scholarship through them. And that's where I've been ever seen. And it's just hard work really like hard work and dedication. I mean, I'm lucky enough to be somewhat talented, there are a lot of people that work a lot harder than me. So I just, yeah, I'm lucky in a lot of ways, but I do really invest time and effort and do as much as I can to be the best that I can be as a person and a tennis player,
tennis player and their relationship with a coach can somewhat Same emotional like you know you've seen the the breakdowns on court where, yeah, well, you know, curiosities yelling at these coach, what's yours like a you? You were emotionally heightened at times they blow up.
I have never in my whole life hated somebody that loves somebody as much as I love my tennis guide. A is
a great guy,
but very stubborn in Salma. So we do have massive blow ups. We've had huge blues at training, and I've left and we haven't spoken and but I know, I know deep down that he's just trying to make me a better player. And we have a great relationship and we see each other more than I see anybody else in my life. So of course there's going to be ups and downs, but I can't thank him enough for investing the time into me. And yeah, I plan on Working with him and yeah, there has been some very big blobs there has been some racket smashes there has been some him walking off court know talking to me telling me I played like are all that fun stuff that's ornaments. I mean it's great when you look over in the middle of a match and coaches thrown his hat for swearing French which is always good, which is pretty funny sometimes because he speaks to me in French and I don't speak French so I've got no idea what he's saying. It's
it sounds like it sounds like Josh in my relationship to a lot of blogs. But what that sounds like is hard and from hard stuff comes the you know the great the greatness of life. And so you you know a hard relationship, a hard conversation, putting in the hard work you're getting a result. What is the what is the unique relationship taught you about
just fit I'm not always right.
just understanding that it's his job to be my coach. So he's going to be hard and tell me the truth. Sometimes I might not want to hear it. So there is a lot of self reflecting. And as much as I don't want to hear it at the time and telling me being a jerk or whatever, and I'm like, What would you you know, you're not out there. I mean, he's been there. He's done it before. So it's just yeah, it's, it's understanding, and I guess listening to what he's saying and not just shutting off. Do you think that when you were in that place
where you felt sorry for yourself, I could imagine that people around you would be really empathetic to that and maybe even buy into that because it's like, yeah, this is like a hard situation that you're in. What is the balance between hard tough love and saying, not you're better than this, you can do this versus leaning into the actual struggles that you have.
It's definitely a fine line and
it could have gone either way honestly, back when I was younger both my parents are awesome they love me. They think great support for me My friends, but it was it can be like you can
get to sorry boys you can get to a
point where having that
group of people that do understand what you're going through and want to I guess feel I want to say feel sorry for you but they do when they don't like they want to see you get the best out of yourself but at the same time they want to emphasise with what you're going through. And I guess the tough love was needed in a way because this is it Wasn't there? I probably would have just felt sorry for myself.
Is it that nice? Do you think that people around you so guilty?
Yeah, potentially. I mean, I can get a lot I can guarantee my mom felt guilty in a lot of ways, just nothing to do with it being her folder or anything but I mean obviously having my brother who's couple of years older than me that has an intellectual disability and then having myself and I was an able bodied baby and then got sick when I was five months old. That was would have been pretty tough on my parents and yeah, she probably felt guilty that it did she do something wrong or would things have been different if circumstances were different or stuff like that, but I guess a lot of people just and I'm being very general here. A lot of people just don't understand. banned, I guess, disability in a hole. And I mean, I still deal with today like, I will go to the shops, and somebody will talk to me and because they say that I'm in a wheelchair that I don't think that I could speak properly or now speak to my mic who's with me because I don't think I could communicate. And it's the ideal thing, like you go to the airport, and you're about to get on the plane, and they're like, oh, is your care here? And I'm like, What do I need a careful? Yeah. They just they don't, I guess know, the different types of disability. So, I mean, we still deal with it on a daily basis. But, I mean, it's just one of those things. I just, I understand that not everyone educated in that aspect. So there, I guess there's just a little bit of patience. And I'm not saying that we're all nice people. There are people with disabilities that are massive jerks. I've been a massive jerk at times.
We're just like everybody else. So
when it comes to sport, being an athlete, you know, the hard work, as you mentioned is something that requires that mindset, that input, and then where does luck fit into the equation?
Well, locks everywhere. I guess, especially on a tennis court, like, I do all the work off recording, training and all that stuff to get myself into positions in matches to win. But I mean, look, if if I hit a shot and it hits the tape and it falls on my side of the net, then that's just bad luck. It varies a lot, a lot of luck involved in. I guess you've just got to take it as it comes. Do you see it as luck
as in? I could imagine the person that puts in a heap of work could see it as No, I've done the work here versus it being lucky. And I think it's as I'm not an athlete, but I I could imagine you have a unique perspective on what you classify as luck on the court and in life.
Yeah, well, I mean, my situation I personally feel like the why things fell into place was very lucky for myself. I'm not saying that I didn't commit and give it 100% and put in a lot of work. But just the way that things sort of fell into place I came back to tennis. Got a scholarship started travelling was lucky enough to have Dylan as my doubles partner. started touring with him, plied tournament's i'd eight months to 20 months later, I was in a gold medal match at the Paralympics. So, I mean,
the hard work and dedication was definitely there.
But there was a lot of luck along the way, like things sort of fell into place at the right times. may be able to get to that point and very lucky that I had Dylan on the call with me in the gold medal. But he likes to tell me it was all in the tram tracks. I did my role. We got a dog
and so I feel like tennis could be seen as a bit of a solo sport doubles I guess is there's a lot of team work involved. You talk about your coach. How do you see tennis when it when it comes to being an individual sport?
like tennis is a massive individual sport like most of the time I'm out there by myself. Yes, I have a coach travelling with me and Dylan's obviously my doubles partner, but majority of the time is spent with you on court by yourself by yourself in a match. So it doesn't matter what the coach says or whatever. It's pretty much you out there trying to make good decisions and holding yourself accountable for what you're doing. Like on your own, which is why I think I'm a better doubles player than I am a singles player, because when I'm out there with Dylan, I hold myself a lot more accountable because I don't want to let him down. And I need to learn how to type that into the singles side of things. Because I think if I can do that a lot better.
the Paralympics has been delayed by year 2021. Is that right? When it's all happening? How does that? How has that changed your mindset? I guess you're working towards something for so long. And then to have that change.
Definitely at the start, it was rough. It was really tough because obviously, I don't like to say we've made sacrifices because I think everything we do in life, the choice so it was a big dampener low because there was certain choices that I've made over the past four years, that may have put a holder on some aspects of my life. So then to have that postponed really was like day and there was a lot of work that went into this year. And then I've just turned around and it's it's not happening. And then obviously speaking to my sports site and stuff like that, we hashed it out. And I mean, we're sort of lucky in a way like I get an extra 12 months to try and get better.
Surely the sports side is pretty busy at the moment. Everything is happening already. And
I reckon it would with a bit yeah, like, what do you say just chain I just said
pretty much stopped winning and it's what it is.
just yeah, it took me a couple of minutes, I guess, to realise that it's not every day that You're about to play essentially the biggest tournament in the world again, and you get an extra 12 months to try and get that off. So, we have been working really hard on some new stuff since since we got put into lockdown. Well, since we've been allowed out of lockdown, I should say and just trying to get better, I made some adjustments to the chair. And yeah, just hopefully improving and hopefully when we get over there next year that I'm a better tennis player than I was today and
we can get some good results.
I mean, tennis I mean, sports sounds like the most emotional roller coaster. It's a I mean, for me, I don't think I'm I don't like being that competitive because I actually don't like the emotion on the other side. It annoys me so much that I get frustrated. For you. It's your it's your job. When you come off the back of winning something like the 2016 Gold Medal with Dylan, you're at the very top there. What's that? What's that down?
The come down. Like, and how do you deal with it?
Ah, well, I mean, after we won, I didn't actually realise what we've done, obviously, because the whole journey for me getting to the Paralympics, and winning that gold medal was really rushed. And it happened so fast. So I didn't actually really understand what we just done. until until we got home. And when we got home, like, I guess everybody watched us on TV and people knew who I was. And being one of three people in Australia to ever win a gold medal in tennis is pretty cool. So yeah, I mean, there was a big high, the high lasted for four weeks. When we go home, and now I'm assuming you beliefs can guess what happened in those four weeks. As a few parties and I just saw a pain in the spotlight, and then yeah, you're right there come down is Will I ever reach that Pinnacle again? Will I get the opportunity to reach that Pinnacle again? And if I do an A doesn't happen. Is it okay that I've only done it once? Or is that not acceptable? And I think for myself in my tennis career, there's still stuff that I really want to achieve like, I want to be in the top three in the singles. I want to play Dylan in a Grand Slam final to the iPhone or one of the other slams, I'd love to play for a gold medal in the singles at the Paralympics. So I'm just trying to do what I can and be the best player. I can Except that, if it doesn't happen, at least I gave it my 100. So how do you measure success?
Obviously, the obviously results is something that most athletes would probably say, and how well they've done in world rankings and stuff like that. But I think it's just personally I think it's just, if I know that I've done everything that I can do
to be the best player,
anything in life best person that I can be, then I think I've done a pretty bloody good job and I'd be happy in content to say that
I was successful. Is there certain moments where you catch yourself like have you got actual, you know, daily things that you do to make sure that you're on track? Uh, I guess coming out of that, you know, seven and a half years of not playing tennis to then do it, there's potentially bad habits. How do you keep yourself accountable?
There was definitely bad habits and there was a lot of fee. I don't think bought up. See it was a lot of fear of not succeeding or not being as good as I thought I could be. But yeah, just, I mean, I stay in my sports like once a week, and he does hold me accountable. And he makes sure me remember and like, Kate myself on point, in a lot of ways, is he different to a normal cycle? What's the main difference between a sports site and just your average site? I think sports site is more based around like routines and how to remain calm and clear when you're doing your sport. So that's sort of a lot of the stuff that we talk about throughout our sessions. But we do talk just as much about PR Life and home life because if you've got a good personal life and you're happy with your personal life, then it relates to when you're out on court and doing your job. So I think having him in my corner has been a massive help. I've been working with him now for two years, and I think my tennis has improved dramatically. I have always thought that I've always needed negative reinforcement, like you're doing a bad job. This is what you're doing wrong. And then yeah, speaking to him, it's sort of not something that is beneficial to my game. So it's just yeah, it's changing that on court mindset, being more positive, allowing yourself and accepting to make mistakes and getting over it. And yeah, it's just a sort of like learning how to have a clear mind when you're in stressful situations, because most of the time, especially in tennis, the person that has the clearest thought In a stressful time will probably come out on top. Yeah love that is the feed go No, it's
plain and simple
and it's the fear of coming back to tennis and not succeeding was the original one. And I was massive and now the fear is not being able to do what we did again or not being able to reach what I think I can reach. And that's like obviously something that I am working very hard on and i said before that just being the best player that I can be is enough but it still doesn't change the fact that there is a lot of fear and a lot of doubt that creeps into your mind that but what if it isn't what if you didn't do everything he could and it's just get wording to mentally prepare yourself and activate those things that you think you're doing correctly that you're probably not doing 100% correct. So and that was like even just as little as getting enough sleep at night, like I was a night owl used to love day not like watching TV, go to bed, one o'clock wake up at six. And feeling good, like feeling good, because I've done it for so long. But then actually taking the time to get the proper amount of sleep and do the right things before you go to sleep.
Made a massive difference.
Remember your 10 psychology they talked about? I think it's a visualisation in sports science and visualisation. Is that something that you use?
massively, we've actually just had a session on visualisation last late because I I'm very my mind And as much as I try not to it does become very results based. And that's something we're trying to get away from and maybe getting stressed out in, like, crucial points in a tennis match or whatever. You sort of forget what you've been doing the whole match, like you've got yourself into a really good position. But then when it gets really stressful and tough, I get foggy. And then I forget what I'd be doing or I forget all the stuff that I've done. So as just being able to take that couple of seconds and we've been we're working really hard on it, just before serving. Take a couple of deep breaths and visualise your serve like how it feels to get a good serve Tiago point. Not so much what you did wrong or if you miss a shot, everybody knows if You're taking a football or you're hitting a tennis ball or you're playing cricket. And you play a trick if you play a straight drive, and you hit it straight to the field, ah, you know that feeling really well. But what you don't really take note of, is the feeling you get. When it comes off sweet. It goes past him for, like, people don't remember the good feelings. They remember the bad stuff. Yeah. So it's just sort of getting used to the feelings and visualising the good feelings that I've been having, and how I've been playing. And how that felt, is what I want to take into all of my matches. And when I get stressed,
it's like getting negative comments on your lighter selfie. And it's like they're the ones that stand out. Not your mom saying You look great down like
I never said people will always Not Not Not all people, but a lot of people will just read negative comments and be like, why are people saying this about me? Like, what have I done? No, what's the guy? their
disability then like, is that a bit of a crutch in people were it's like, you only see the disability or people just see the disability
idea a lot of for a long time it was. And obviously with all the work that people have been doing these days, with inclusion and stuff like that, it is getting a lot better. At I mean, a perfect example of that is the US surgeon dishy when a tie announced to the US Open was happening and they said wheelchairs were there. And we're like, What do you mean? And they're like, Well, yeah, it's not it's not happening. And then Dylan obviously put that tweet out. which went bananas? And they've obviously had some long conversations with the players and they've decided to go back on what they originally said and let us play. What's the conversation
like with Dylan? I can imagine you guys getting fired up and saying, you know, really getting him revved up to get like as he was everywhere. I feel like in that day in that day, he was on TV. It was fucking awesome.
He just, he's one of the only people in our sport that could have done that because of the platform that he's got. There was a lot of players that felt like that. But yeah, I mean, look, man, I've got a couple of thousand followers on Instagram. If I said something, nobody would know about it. But my job in that certain thing was just a vacuum 100% and just go with it. And yeah, he does get fired up about stuff like that and props to him because a lot of people wouldn't do it because then maybe the backlash that would follow But he's a proud, disabled person. And he's doing great things breaking down glass ceilings, and normalising disability in life. So, yeah, I can't thank him enough for everything he's done for people with disabilities. And he's been my mic since. Man. I've known him since he was 11 or nine, like, Yeah, he was really young when I met him. So we've been pretty close mates for a long time, and they're really proud of what he's doing. Do you guys
chat about your mental health together? Like if you're struggling in some areas? I mean, you. You both have been in the same situation. What are those? What's that conversation like?
I guess for us because we know each other, so well, we were very open with each other. And if one of us is having a bad day, or whatever, we just tell each other to get it together. sort of thing. But yeah, there has been some pretty In Depth conversations about
like growing up with a disability and we have very
different childhoods in a lot of senses. He wrote a book which goes into a little bit of detail about my childhood and how he thought it was always fun to hang around with me because I was sort of like that party boy and that little bit older and stuff like that and whatnot. Yeah, we we just we are similar in the fact that we are both in wheelchairs but we're very different in a lot of ways. Ben Yeah, I think we just work well together. He's one of my best mates and yeah, pretty happy that I get to train with him every day. It makes me a better tennis player and I'm sure he locks tally me up on the tennis court my size size, like they get to Nago status.
The the small things during ISO for me, I'm trying to do 10,000 steps a day. in a wheelchair what are some of the the go to metrics or things that you can focus on to make sure that you're you're staying active even just for someone who's not an athlete like yourself
the 10,000 steps in a is pretty easy I just put my watch on and go like much count pretty far off it's just the same man like you're trying to get 10,000 steps I just go for a Porsche or just try and get like as much like fitness sort of just good health stuff in it as much as I can do my stretches or doing a little homework out if I can't get into tennis or stuff like that. It's pretty similar man like I guess we probably wouldn't leave to like our lives would be pretty similar during lockdown. I mean, you wake up you have a coffee a breakfast is pottering around debate. You watch a bit of Netflix, you make a podcast
junk food definitely.
You sit back. I mean, yeah, it's a little bit of PlayStation. What's your
game of trying to feel like this PlayStation I feel like you're understanding how much you play PlayStation. watch you play,
probably a full time job.
If you go to twitch, you need to be
talking to one of my mates that starting off the stream, what date I'm on, I'm okay at Call of Duty. So, we've been playing a lot of that. I'm a massive dot fan. So I actually like playing darts. I love it. So I've got a dartboard set up in my kitchen on the wall.
Which I seem to throw a lot of dots. Did you play as a kid because I'm one of three boys in our household and we had issues where we went to a motel once and then started throwing the darts at each other. So we weren't everyone Loud one like when did you play darts as a kid?
I guess I probably threw darts and paper when I was a kid I never really took it up. But ya know, I just started watching Gotham foxtel and loved it so went down to the Dodge shop and ended up getting the full set up and it's yeah as I said it's in the middle of my house and when the boys come over we have a guy mom actually went to Bali late last year and bought a dartboard over there and took the darts and set it up in the villa and camping hangs and fly dogs pretty much dry.
Are you one of those guys that pulls out a little, you know box, you've got your dog and then you've got
everyone else's that hundred percent 100% I have a few sets of nice nice thoughts
as well I feel like the same guy that's got he brings his own bowling balls.
I'm no good at Campion bowling. I wish I was better but I'm a big bowling balls. stand ups for boys. I was actually flicking through foxtel the other day and I had the cornhole championships on America.
What is cornhole? I don't even know what
it is. Explain the ace. So cornhole is standing out. I think it's 20 foot apart. Two teams, you have a board with a hole in it and you have to throw a beanbag into that hole.
I think I remember playing that in like school but so is this is this like the perfect ISO sport because everyone's 20 feet apart.
Yeah, I just love sport, anything I like huge, huge fan. I mean, I watched the UFC yesterday and that was unreal.
Yeah, just be sports boy. Can you
explain the difference? So I used to called announce wheelchair basketball at dandenong basketball study the ranges back in the day when I was a kid and everyone had numbers And so you could have a certain amount of numbers on the court. What's the deal from a technical perspective? Like, say with what you do? It's like quad tennis like what what are the different versions of wheelchair sport?
tennis is pretty simple.
I'm in the Quad classes, quad classification with Dylan. So we have three limbs that are affected. So I have my right racket on she's I've got a fused wrist, and I restricted restricted movement in my shoulder, plus, I can't feel my legs. Therefore there's three limbs. And then you have the open division, which is anyone that sits in a wheelchair. So you could have like, you could have one leg or whatever, and good basketball. The point system work is this. So everyone has the same amount of points on court at the same time. haven't really been a massive wheelchair basketball player.
I know Dylan played pretty successfully for a while. But yeah, so you get classed as in Dylan was a one point up because of his disability. And then the less disabled or more able you are, the more points you get in a five point is the most. Yeah, I remember like just being a kid and walking out and being surprised that you'd see some guys like walking their wheelchair out and putting it into the, to the car because it's like, I think they were like a car. Remember the numbers like a six or something? Which means like day to day though they didn't need to be in the wheelchair.
Yeah, so it happens on the tennis court as well. We've had I find matches where guys have like lifted their wheelchairs over the fence and put them on court and I'm like, yeah, this seems fair. But anyway,
what is that mindset mindset you go to
slack, this is going to be calf. That now it is like a saviour was the foot and then you play wheelchair basketball, you'd be a five pointer, which is the highest you can get. And then yeah, it goes down like paraplegic like waist down is potentially a two and a half or three, and it just goes down and down. And I think you're allowed 16 points on the court at once or whatever. So you mix up the pliers so you can get the best available players on court at the time. So that's how that sort of works. And then obviously, you move into swimming, and stuff like that. And there's 400 different divisions that couldn't tell you how that all works.
Have you? Have you watched the Michael Jordan DACA
I have the last days it was brilliant. How good is it I get it. I mean, as I have my
imagination of the player, I would be a part of the ball Tommy started smoking
mathletes do you watch that and go I'm the Jordan or I'm Scottie Pippen, or I'm the Dennis Rodman of
definitely the Dennis Rodman
on vacation I definitely go on a vacation to Vegas mid tournament I'd be fine with it
but Tommy I reckon you'd be the john Paxton my just J Yeah, just smashing arrays when a cast
been like that. What do you think would I be
on definitely gone Horace grant because his office he
goes I remember I never I did the contact lenses. I never did the goggles like a guy that was sick but I was always worried if I got hit in the face that it would sort of have a little bit of impact. That was a look those goggles and the big socks and stuff like
Yeah, man, I love Horace grant and when he went to Orlando just ruined everything.
guys are watching that low your way similar age heighth. And I just remember With the basketball cards the you know NBA Jam and just watching that you just get so nostalgic
but I was hugely into trading cards I had I think I actually still have a my dad does at his house we have a Michael Jordan rookie, Todd so we've got less I've still got all my card collections here and my dad's this
definitely a few
definitely a fair bit of coin involved you know,
we always expected those more though didn't wait. We thought that like tacos and shit that was that literally was going to be our investment that was the
they're like ghosts if you don't actually know I made that same one, you know made of a mate who's actually sold the expensive basketball.
Yeah, sure that but I'm really looking forward to the Kobe Bryant taco as well, because apparently, all I'd ran for two years.
And pretty sure they announced them Going to be called mum by air and it's being released later this month. So Wow,
that goes man I feel like that's a it's a good use of couch potato time. Right because it's got a bit of visualisation in there. You're sort of setting yourself up working out who you want to be met. We're talking
about what what character you'd be from. From the Chicago Bulls, Josh and I were talking about directing, he can tell a lot about someone's chocolate choice.
So yeah, so what Yeah, what? Yeah, so what's your go to chick every go to
strike dairy milk? Yeah, you and you cannot go past it.
It's very nostalgic telling everyone that you're wild.
I was a bit upset with the, the the new release of the model one I shouldn't probably say.
It's not the same and I've had a big debate with them about it.
But yeah, just top decks. Just honestly Chocolate Chocolate fan and the pineapple you know the pineapples you know the boxes snack. Yeah, yeah, the pineapple one in that.
That is hard for you. Yeah. Anytime that you're having to hopefully get a certain one Yeah, like it's a that's why I've been getting hard work I think the semi I mean the the big the catch i mean i don't know if you've got any insights working with Cadbury but directly they created the marvellous creation so you can't break it evenly. So because I used to be like, two rows and now it's like ah fuck ups absorbs I mean the whole thing.
Very, very good.
We did. So good. Candy wants to come off of it. Yeah,
that's so good. Yeah, the combining that with like a spark like sparkling drink.
It's dangerous territory. Yeah, it's
Why don't sparkling Rob bainer again, I used to love that stuff sparkling
where I could imagine people putting that in the soda stream and getting a shot. Ah, the bomb.
Right? Thank you and best of luck for training for the 2021 games man that's gonna be awesome. You have you set a goal of how buff you want to come in or how lean you want to be. Where you just hitting the ball.
just you versus me.
I'm gonna say I reckon mine might be slightly bigger. Not going to give you any measurements.
Now I guess just to be as fit as I can go on in
hopefully hitting a big bowl and yeah, my my problem is my mental game. So as long as I can hold that together, I reckon I'll be alright.
Yeah, but it does take skill because I remember trying to execute on the visualisation playing golf and I wasn't very good and you just sort of get And how it's gonna go and so you will hate we would love to have you on as well. I'm closer to the games as well just likes for us so we can say you know, we know, we know Hey
boy yeah thanks for having me it's a great chat. Hope I was interesting enough to you boys and everyone that's gonna listen and yeah, I'd love to come back on so let us know when you're when you're up for it
awesome. All I hate Davidson 13 on Insta get around it. Awesome thanks for the plug fellas
the daily talk show set tomorrow guys have a good one. Take it