Tennis fever is ramping up with Wimbledon starting on Monday. Whilst some of us will be glued to the TV screens others may be out in the sunshine, or more likely the rain, trying to serve like Venus and hit like Murray.
We’ve managed to get the low down on one of this year’s newest tennis stars training regime, the new “Swiss Miss” Belinda Bencic. Here we’ve got the insider tips to get your game off to a flying start this summer.
How do you maintain your fitness, especially during long matches?
I’m currently doing interval training on the track with 100 meter sprints down the straights and jogging round the corners. It tires me out quickly but I’m getting better at it!
What have you been working on in training recently?
I’ve been working on footwork, which is really important for me, as on the court you have to move well. To help me with this I use a ladder! I place the ladder on the floor and use it to do a number of footwork drills in and out to help my agility.
What exercises do you do to practice serves?
I do strength training that focuses on the arms and shoulders with exercises on the shoulder press and using the medicine ball. It’s not all about being strong though, I need to have quick movements as power can also come from the speed of the arm so I stretch a lot using elastic resistance bands specially designed for building movement speed.
How do you keep fit all year round?
Training during the off-season always involves two tennis sessions and one fitness session in the gym. I start with practice on court for two hours in the morning from 9am-11am. I mainly focus on drills where I hit a lot of balls, typically feeding drills. In the afternoon I start back on the court again at 2pm and do match simulation. Fitness training generally comes at the end of the day from 5pm-6pm so it’s a long day! During tournaments, I only have one practice session a day although getting court time is not always easy as there are many players wanting to practice at the same time!
How do you deal with hot weather during tennis matches?
Tennis is a sport that follows the sun so training often takes place in warm climates. In the winter I go to Florida to prepare for the first grand slam of the year in Australia. Training and playing in hot climates mean staying hydrated is critical. I drink a lot of water but also sports drinks with electrolytes to help with recovery and replenishment.
What do you do to recover post training?
After training I try to avoid the ice bath! A light jog and plenty of stretching helps me to wind down. I also massage Nelsons arnicare Arnica Cooling Gel into my heavy legs as it gives a cooling sensation which is great after a hot training session.