Greg at the US Open 2011

One time US Open finalist and aerophobic Greg Rusedski on magical Mustique, his South American dream and taking 100 flights a year.

Mustique beach200Enjoy a relaxing stroll on the private island of Mustique
What’s been your most memorable travelling experience ever?
I’ve been very lucky that I’ve travelled round the world with my tennis career but if I go on holiday usually it’s to relax so I love beach holidays. I love being able to get some sun on the beach, and to just totally wind down.

My most enjoyable holiday ever was probably before I had kids and my wife Lucy and I went to Mustique. We rented an amazing house right on the beach with its own jeep so you can tour the island’s beaches, which are basically completely deserted and isolated. You can totally relax there and the house is open air which is fantastic. You can also stay on the one hotel on the island, The Cotton House, which is an amazing hotel too. But what I like about it is that the whole island has retained its pure natural habitat and there are only two shops on the island and two restaurants so mostly it’s just about being at the house or being at the hotel and just taking things really, really slowly.

Emirates Palace Hotel Abu Dhabi 200Kids will love a stay at the Emirates Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi
How has travel changed for you since you’ve become a father?
It’s a little bit different now because we tend to stick to places that are kid friendly. The last place we went was to the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi which is a massive place but it’s great for the kids because there are so many kids activities. They had waterslides there for the kids, which my five year-old daughter Scarlett absolutely loved and they had smaller pools for my 21-month-old son John so he could walk into the pool and it was so shallow that it only went up to his waist, so they really cater for families there and that’s how holidays have changed now for me.

Costigliole d'Asti Piedmont Italy200Italy's food and wine make it a big hit with Greg
Do you ever manage to escape alone with just your wife Lucy?
We’ll try to get away for a two or three day break to have some time for ourselves when we can but if we’re going for an extended holiday it is all about the kids now. If I was doing a short break with Lucy, I love Italy. I love the food there. You can’t beat it when you get the mozzarella and tomato, the antipasto and the wines. I love Italian food. And we went to Venice for the first time after we were married because my wife said, ‘you can’t go to Venice until we’re married,’ so we waited until we were married and I loved going on the gondolas and soaking up the history. I’m a big fan of Italy. I love France too, which is right on your doorstep. You can take the Eurostar to Paris for a day or two for an easy holiday; the shopping’s great and the food is great too.

Are you happy to sample local dishes however weird and wonderful they are?
I’ve been all over the world with my tennis and you name it I’ve tried it. I’ve been to Japan, Hong Kong and all over China

Tokyo tower200Take in the Tokyo sights, starting with a trip to the Tokyo Tower
Hemera / Thinkstock
So have you tried dog?
I haven’t eaten dog yet but what I loved when I was on tour I had a friend I went to school with who lived in Tokyo and this was in the 90s before most people really got to see Japan, so when I was in there he’d take me to all the traditional Japanese restaurants and take me on the underground and take me round to see the city from a proper point of view, getting the mixture and the culture and trying the local food. If you look at it now sushi and all the Japanese food is pretty standard but in the 90s it wasn’t for most people so that was really exciting to be trying that culture so early.

Your tennis career must have taken you round the world many times. Where would you love to explore more?

I’ve been back to Hong Kong for the first time in ten years as I always used to do a tournament at Victoria Park there and I stopped there for two days before I went off to China; I love looking over Kowloon Harbour and taking the ferry. It’s quite an electric city and I’ve always enjoyed visiting there.

Louvre at night200Don't miss the Louvre museum, a Paris must see
Creative Commons / re-ality
Do you enjoy travelling or prefer to arrive?
I’m a nervous flyer which I know is hard to believe for someone with my job who has had to spend so much time in the air over the last 15 years but I always enjoy it when I get there and if I don’t have to fly I won’t. If I’m going to Paris I’ll take the Eurostar and whenever I do fly I always pray that there won’t be too much turbulence even though I realise you get it everywhere and it’s only hot and cold air. I don’t know why I’m so worried but I’ve been hit by lightening a few times. And I’ve dropped out of the air a few times but not too many feet. But I suppose it all goes with the territory and it’s probably a control thing more than anything because when you’re on the ground for some reason no matter what happens you’re fine. It is fair to say I have my ups and downs with flying.

Where would you love to visit that you’ve never been?
The only place I’ve not really explored yet which I think would be very interesting for me to go and explore would be Argentina. I’d love to spend some time in Buenos Aires. I love the energy people talk about from there and the natural beauty and I’d also love to visit Brazil and particularly Sao Paulo. I’d love to do South America but there are so many different cultures to explore in the world and see how different people are and I love broadening my horizons.

Sugar Loaf Mountain brazil200Sunset casts a golden glow over Sugar Loaf Mountain, Brazil
Comstock / Thinkstock
What lessons have travel taught you?
With my job I’ve learnt that when you’re travelling you have to be very disciplined. Because I’ve been used to taking two flights a week and travelling the world most weeks of the year, you’re talking about 100 flights a year so you need to make sure everything is organised and have your air miles in order to get discounted flights and upgrades and all those things. Go online for your tickets as well as that’s the cheapest way to get them. And book your tickets months in advance too and when you travel, make sure you have all the things you need. I always travel with a little medical kit just in case something happens.

Do you ever get tired of travelling?
What I enjoy most is when I’m travelling with my family. I travelled for fifteen years on the professional tour and being away form your family is the hardest part of that and when your loved ones are with you it makes it that much more fun.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.