It's a tennis story. It's a family story. It's a teamwork story. It's the story of how I got to where and who I am today.
I'm only in my mid-twenties, and some might think that's young to write a memoir. Who does that, right? But for me and my team it's always been important to reflect on every part of the journey, especially the end. In that context, the timing is perfect to share my story, from the first time I picked up a racquet as a 5-year-old girl in Ipswich to the night I packed up my tennis bag at Melbourne Park after winning the 2022 Australian Open. This book gives me a chance to look back at every moment of the 20 years in between, and to think carefully through the highs and lows, the work and the play, the smiles and the tears.
Telling my story also gives me an opportunity to do more than simply thank those who mean the most to me – it provides a way to honour them as an integral part of that tale, as the very secret behind my success. Some of them you might know – such as my longtime coach, Craig Tyzzer – and some of them you might not – like my first childhood coach, Jim Joyce. There are mates like Casey Dellacqua and Alicia Molik. Mentors such as tennis icon Evonne Goolagong Cawley and mindset coach Ben Crowe. My parents and sisters and my husband have sacrificed as much as I have over the years – this book is also for them.
My Dream Time is about finding the path to being the best I could be, not just as an athlete but as a person, and to consider the way those identities overlap and compete. We all have a professional and a personal self. How do you conquer nerves and anxiety? How do you deal with defeat, or pain? What drives you to succeed – and what happens when you do? The answers tell me so much, about bitter disappointments and also dreams realised – from injuries and obscurity and self-doubt to winning Wimbledon and ranking number 1 in the world.
My story is about the power and joy of doing that thing you love and seeing where it can take you, about the importance of purpose – and perspective – in our lives.