After winning a World Team Tennis championship with the New York Buzz last season, Australian Nathan Healey will return to play for the Philadelphia Freedoms for the first time since 2003.
“It’s great to be back in Philadelphia. I really like the area and it’s easy for my family to come to the matches,” said Healey after an exhibition Tuesday.
Healey is now married and resides close by in Reading, Pa.
The current Freedoms player, started out his ATP career in 1998, holds 3 doubles titles to his name and was ranked as high as 58 in the world in singles back when he played for the Freedoms in 2003.
When asked about the differences between playing on the ATP tour to World Team Tennis, Healey said it takes a little getting used to.
The team atmosphere, energetic music and cheering in between points creates a unique environment that Healey said he enjoys playing in.
“You don’t get a chance on the tour to play for a team.” Healey said, “This is something that the sport needs.”
Healey was coached by his father as a child back in Australia and said that he had a big influence on his career.
“It had its ups and downs,” Healey said jokingly, “but he showed me how to play the game.”
Hard work certainly paid off for the native of Gosford, Australia as he made it to the 3rd round of the Australian Open as a wildcard into the draw, losing a tight match to Nikolay Davydenko.
“I love when the crowd gets involved. That really gets me fired up. The fans were great there,” Healey said about his 2006 Australian Open run.
Healey said he prefers doubles over singles and always felt he could have possibly made the top ten in doubles.
“I had to give singles a crack,” said Healey with smile.
Healey was asked what player he admires the most on the tour right now.
“I’d have to say Roger Federer. To be playing in the same era as the greatest ever is just amazing.”
Healey mentioned former tennis star Patrick Rafter, who is also native to Australia and played in World Team Tennis.
As for Healey, he will be anxious to suit up for the Freedoms as they take the court next Monday for their first match against St. Louis.
“It’s such an amazing atmosphere,” said Healey, “I really think I thrive in the team environment as well.”