© Gertjan Kooij / Beeldboot 14 Apr Fatherhood and sport By: Tim Hartog Men, Rio 2016 blog A few days ago I was sitting and reading an article about how fatherhood effects tennis players. Some of them, since they became fathers, had started to play better and the others started to play worse. They can not get back on track where they were before they became father. Of course still Djokovic is the best. So I was thinking what happend with them, what changed in their life so they can not be the same, the old champs? Then I said to myself, wait you are a parent too, did something changed in your life since you became father? Ten days after I became the world champion with Serbia on the summer my wife gave birth. She brouth a beautiful girl to the world. Our child. In our family immediatly started a big celebration. We have a custom when the child is born the celebration lasts for three days, and everybody knows how the Balkans celebrate. What is a little bit awkward is, the tired women is still in hospital but you with your family and friends are celebrating. But customs are customs. Since that moment my world has changed. When my wife came home from the hospital and in her hands brouth our child for me, time stopped. You are not any more the most important person in the world. From now on there is somebody who is more important than you are. Somebody whose life is in your hands, for who you are responsible for 24 hours a day. Right after that I had to leave my town and come to Eger, because the trainings with the club started. That month and a half that I was separated from my family was very hard for me. Although I consider myself as a person who likes to spend a lot of time alone, birth of my child changed that. I am not the same person any more. Photo: Marcel ter Bals. When my child and wife came to Eger my life once more changed. All my life I trained, ate, slept and had fun. Every weekend I was with my friends in town. Now there is not so much free time. All the time when I am not on training I try to help my wife with our baby. If the child is wet or hungry she doesn’t care that you are tired or lost some match that day. She has her needs and I as a father have to try to fulfill them. Until now time between two trainings I used for rest, now I use it to play with my daughter. Sometimes it is just a game and sometimes is simple care, until my wife does the other things in the house. Now our daughter started to stand and walk a little bit, so we cannot leave her alone, not for one second. Also all the time that I am with her I try to teach her new things. Time and time again I try to come up with new games so she will not get bored. I can freely say that the birth of my child had make my life more beautiful. Yes, my life has changed but I wanted so. I wanted to create new life and to be part of its growing. Do I sometime get tired on training, is it sometimes more difficult on trainings than before? Probably yes. But I don’t complane, because I know that I’m doing the right thing. On the other hand I just figured our what does it mean when somebody says that the family is the most important thing in the world. It is! When I became a father I became more confident in myself. That reflected on my sport, so I feel even better than before. But in the sport it is not the most important thing. The most important thing is the motivation. If you don’t have the motivation, it is better for you not to go out on the battlefield. You are going to lose even when you are the better player. And the birth of my child gave me more motivation to train, more motivation to be even better, on all fields. Creating the new life and being the the part of its growing is the most beautiful thing in the world. So my message to the fathers whose births of their child stopped them on their sport career is to grit their teeth and do what fathers got to do.