The Healey Tennis Story

My name is Nathan Healey, founder of Healey Tennis.  Presented below is a synopsis of my career and the birth of the concept of Play Awake!

Healey Tennis began in 1989 when I was 9 years of age.  Actually, that’s not entirely true as from the time I was born I was surrounded by family, friends and life situations that left impressions and ultimately influenced how I moved and operated in the world for years to come.  I'm a third generation Healey to run a tennis coaching business on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia.  Growing up I was surrounded by tennis coaches, professional players and fanatics of the sport which certainly set the stage for me to fall in love with the game of tennis.  It was nurture and nature from the beginning.

These early impressions created a person who was extremely determined, passionate and driven to succeed in anything he set his attention on.  This determination and desire placed me on the Tennis Australia watch list which led to being selected for international touring teams by the age of 14.  At age 16, I was selected as part of the elite Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) program based out of Melbourne, Victoria.  Dedicating my life to tennis at the A.I.S ultimately kick-startred my dream of becoming a professional tennis player.

From 1998, I spent 11 years on tour playing in all grand slams (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open) and attaining career high rankings of 158 in singles and 57 in doubles.  My greatest achievements include reaching the 3rd round of the Australian Open singles in 2006, winning 3 ATP doubles tournaments in Sydney, Beijing, Sopot with multiple finals appearances at other ATP events.  As well,  I had the opportunity to play with and against legends of the game such as Pat Rafter, Mark Phillippoussis, Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic, Kim Clijsters, the Bryan Brothers and the Williams Sisters to name a few.  

In December of 2007, I married my incredible wife Marnie.  Marnie was a catalyst for a perspective shift which helped me to look at life in a different way, a more enlightened way.  Another eye and mind opener was a sudden heart attack in March 2012 where I managed to survive a spontaneous rupture of my aortic valve and 12-hour emergency surgery. *more details of this story found in attached in link below

Reflecting on my life's journey, I appreciate the challenges I faced in order to evolve.  I realize that life as a professional player became an addiction, and if I didn’t attain desired results I would ultimately feel “less than” or inferior to my colleagues and other people within my life circles.  My entire self-image hinged on achieving results in order to feel worthy of others approval.  Playing the sport with this approach caused a variety of mental blocks and in-turn created a disconnection from the purpose of the sport, which was to enjoy the game and have fun!  However, during my time on tour (and off the court), I battled on; I forced, muscled and pushed myself to climb the ranking ladders, completely unaware that the internal anguish and relentless cycle of struggle could come to an end; there in fact was another WAY to play and live!

Coaching Lleyton Hewitt, former world number one, was another added element to my growth as a person.   I spent two years with Lleyton, helping to shift his world ranking from outside the top 100 to back inside the top 20.   This move from playing to coaching had a dramatic impact on my overall perspective of the game of tennis. 

I started to realize that peak performance didn’t come from “trying so hard” or “forcing” things to happen on court, but rather allowing all those years of practice to unfold naturally and the players' best tennis (their individual 'ZONE') to come to them instead of chasing IT!  In a nut shell, I became "the witness" of my tennis game and noticed that my peak performance was governed by a relaxed state of awareness, which was possible through brining more presence and mindfulness not only onto the court, but into my life.  With this new found shift in conscious awareness, tennis and life began to flow with a certain kind of ease.  This experience was bolstered by a curiosity of various teachings from Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie and Adyshanti.  I was officially on the path of self-realization and at the same time the recipe of how to "Play Awake" was born!

If interested in the Play Awake philosophy, but more importantly how to play tennis and life more effortlessly with flow and connection, feel free to click HERE! 

*Heart valve emergency surgery  stroy:   http://blog.pennlive.com/patriotnewssports/2012/06/defending_metzger_open_tennis.html

Playing with Andre Agassi for the Philadelphia Freedoms

Playing Hopman Cup for Australia with Alica Molik

 

Working with Lleyton in Houston, Texas

With the wife, Marnie