“Now he has 20,” Demid said, referring to Federer’s Australian Open victory in January, “so I have to get another photo.”
For other players, family life and tennis do not always jibe so smoothly. Azarenka has been involved in a custody dispute over her 1-year-old son, Leo, and when she and the boy’s father were temporarily barred from leaving California with the child, Azarenka declined to travel to several tournaments.
Yet even in cases without conflict, Mirnyi said, “it’s tougher for the mothers.”
“It’s important to have a good support team with you,” he added. “We know that there are some difficulties with men and women and husbands and wives getting in the situation that Vika is in right now. But if you can have a big part of the family along, with mothers, brothers, sisters and grandparents, it can make it so much easier.”
When one of your children is a savvy 13-year-old, it is easier still. For the New York Open, it was Melanie’s idea to go on the special father-daughter trip because she was so eager to see “Anastasia.” She made plans a year in advance, once she learned that the tournament would be moving to New York from its traditional home in Memphis, and that it fell during a school vacation. The visit became even more memorable when Mirnyi reached his 100th tour final, and won, with Melanie in the stands.
During the post-match trophy ceremony, Mirnyi’s partner, Philipp Oswald, thanked the fans, the tournament organizers and the pair’s coach: Melanie.
“That was just an extra wave of boom,” she said.
Mirnyi and Oswald won again this month, at the United States Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston. This time Petra made the trip, and served as honorary coach. Mirnyi thanked her on court, too.