I don’t even remember the last time that I played a racket sport (discounting garden swing ball) but I recently realised that all racket sports are included in my gym membership and decided that it’s the perfect time of year to start taking advantage of that. So what better way to ease myself in, than by playing on the other side of the net to the British No.3…
Last week I was lucky enough to be invited down to Roehampton Tennis Club by Asics, to celebrate the start of Wimbledon with their ambassadors Sam Stosur (World No.18) and Johanna Konta (British No.3). It was a beautiful sunny morning in London (apologies for the my squinty eyes in the photographs!) so I really enjoyed putting some gorgeous Asics tennis apparel to the test (these trainers especially were incredible), and of course, meeting Sam and Johanna, who were both really lovely.
Clearly I’m a tennis novice, so rather than talking tournament tactics, I was keen to hear more about how Sam and Johanna supplement their tennis training with a healthy diet and other forms of fitness training.
Do you have a nutrition plan to follow that compliments your training?
I wouldn’t say I’m strict [with my nutrition] but I do practise good habits. We have a great nutritionist, Glen, who works with us over at the National Tennis Centre, and I’ve been lucky growing up – my mum has given me good habits! I don’t starve myself of things because I think I’ll go nuts, but I do realise that what I put into my body is what I’m going to get out of it. I make conscious decisions of knowing what to eat, when.
Not really, I’m just sensible. For me, I think as soon as you say you can’t have something, that’s when you really want it, and otherwise you’d go crazy. Obviously I try and be as healthy as I can, but if I have a blow out day every now and then, it’s not the end of the world.
What sort of things do you eat before a match?
It depends on how much time I have, but I’ll usually go through some bananas, some bars, some gels. If there’s more time, I’ll have a meal.
Before a match, I might eat pasta, usually just plain with some chicken. The night before I’ll have what ever I feel like. I won’t necessarily have a big bowl of pasta for every meal because as I’ve got older I’ve found out what I like more and what works for me. Sometimes it’s hard because the courts only have certain foods, and that’s usually pasta, chicken and rice, and although that gets pretty boring, that’s definitely what all of us will eat a lot of.
What other training do you do outside of your tennis training?
I do a lot of gym work and I have a great programme with my fitness trainer at the National Tennis Centre. We do a lot of weights but right now we are doing a lot of speed work on the court with the grass and making sure I’m staying low, so I’m getting a very sore bum and quads! With tennis being a very rounded sport, we have to go through a lot of things. We’re prone to a lot of different injuries – we can have a lot of overuse injuries but also, at the same time, a lot of freak accidents. Core is obviously very important, but then so is general strength and endurance as well. It really is a case of ticking every box as well as you can.
I do strength training in the gym, lifting weights and all that kind of stuff. Yesterday I actually did some boxing, and I like doing swimming. I do a whole bunch of different things to be honest. I think that it’s good to be able to mix it up and get variety otherwise it gets pretty boring. So when I’m at home [in Australia] in the pre-season it’s probably the easiest time to do lots of different things.
These are girls after my own heart; keeping variety in their fitness training and increasing their performance with strength training. I also love their refreshing and healthy attitude towards nutrition; listening to their bodies, eating healthy where possible and enjoying treats in moderation.
I had such a lovely morning with the Asics team and can't wait to start working on my serve. Let me know if you have any tips!