Sunday, 15 January 2017



I vividly recall eating cornflakes on a trip through the country side from one tournament to another because that's all we had in the car and we were all starving. The silly thing was this, the cornflakes were tasting more and more sensational with each mouthful. It was a long trip from memory and I believe that it was an early trip so some roadside eateries were yet to open. Cornflakes are great but much nicer with milk, we had no milk.
Travelling in Europe is easier if you plan things in advance like food shopping, travelling snacks and plenty of water. We were the most disorganized bunch of Aussie yobbos you would ever care to meet and the fact that we were travelling around Europe and simply hoping for things to fall into place was a real concern.
My choice of orange juice and bananas was without a doubt the healthiest of all of our early morning diets. I was told many years earlier that Coco Pops for brekky was not on the list of healthy foods particularly for a tennis player so I used to shake my head at Pete and Brett on a daily basis. My theory was simple, eat healthy, feel healthy, play good tennis. Brett and Pete did not fit into the same mould and did not share my theories on food.
In fact at one stage Pete became as 'crook as a dog' through his obsession to eat bagets with pate at every opportunity possible. I do not remember what sort of pate that took Pete's fancy but he scraped it onto his French bread with no thought of carbohydrate overload, he shovelled the stuff down. The day he became sick I may have afforded a slight wry grin as he took another trip to a public toilet but I was not happy with one of the touring party's poor health.
Once Pete's stomach had settled I am sure I remember Pete's words " Never again" and the baget with pate idea was put to bed for good. Eating French food was an education and Pete had been well and truly 'educated'. I don't believe that either Brett or myself suffered the same 'gut rot' that Pete did with his bread intake but if nothing else it made us all aware of the pitfalls of overeating certain foods.
As far as main meals were concerned I had a fetish for spaghetti Bolognese, some nights I would order two main meals of the same pasta as many dishes were not huge and after a day of playing and practicing I was in a word starving. I do have a reasonably good memory and I vividly remember Brett once ordering two dishes of lasagne, one after the other.
His words were "I am still hungry, that last dish was the size of a bit of pelican crap". Do they have pelicans in Europe ?? One night my card was the only one accepted as Brett and Pete's were declined, not through lack of funds but through a restaurant's refusal to accept certain cards. Without my Visa card we would have been washing dishes to pay for our dinner that night.
I felt that I did not receive the 'respect' I deserved for being the elder statesman of the touring party but that night I was 'the Man' and I was thanked profusely by my two companions. The respect did not last long however as the practice courts delivered me many beatings from Brett and Pete but it was character building and I owned a thick skin.
We all maintained our weight somehow despite many days of eating garbage when our bodies were no doubt craving some healthy food to refuel after hitting so many tennis balls on a daily basis.
None of us owned a 'Eat Healthy in France' book so we were flying blind with nutrition but I maintain that my diet was by far the healthiest of the trip.
My tennis results did not match my dedication to eating fibre but I needed every little advantage I could find and my banana and orange juice intake over the two months was exemplary.
Brett and Pete never once followed my lead except for the day that one of them ran out of coco pops and stole a banana. I knew exactly how many I had on a day to day basis.
' I will give both of you until lunchtime to replace what you 'borrowed'.........

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