Since losing in a tight finals match at the US Open National Playoffs in 2012, Nathan Healey has gained a new perspective of the game. He’s now back with doubles partner, Ashley Fisher, to try again.
Healey, 35, won the men’s doubles title in the Middle States sectional qualifying round of the US Open National Playoffs, and will compete in next week’s national qualifying round in New Haven, Conn.. It’s a serious tournament that would have seemed a lot more serious to him just a few years back.
A few years ago, Healey had a heart attack that took he and his family by surprise. After a life-saving surgery he was told it was a miracle that he was alive. He thought competitive tennis was no longer in this future.
“I had a spontaneous rupture of my aortic valve,” Healey explained. “This was repaired by an amazing surgeon at the University of Pennsylvania hospital.”
But after a year of dealing with his condition, Healey came back into playing the game with a less-stressed way of viewing things. Healey coaches now more than he plays competitively, but he still picks up the racquet often.
“I enjoy tennis as I find it a relaxing, meditative art form,” Healey said. “This shifted from the ‘competitive battlefield’ approach I took when I was playing on the world tour.”
Healey does not believe his heart issues have affected his game.
“I think family life has affected how I approach the preparation for a tournament more than the heart issues,” Healey said.
The winner of next week’s doubles tournament will receive a wildcard draw into the US Open.
Both Healey and Fisher were both born in Australia and they have known each other since they were playing junior tennis.
“We played a bunch on tour,“ Healey said. “He is a great guy and brings incredible wisdom to the doubles court. I feel blessed to be playing with him again.”
Healey believes the key to being a good tennis player is always bringing your authentic self to the court. The coach and player now hopes he has the perspective to help him move forward even further.
“I am directing a racquets program at Radley Run Country Club in West Chester,” he said. “I plan on taking the program to new levels, but who know what could happen in the US Open?”
Click here to learn more about the US Open National Playoffs.