The tennis season has just started, the first Grand Slam is about to start and I thought it would be appropriate to talk about little things that can be important to succeed in a great tournament.
The scenario that I will develop is for the contestants with the possibility of winning a Grand Slam. The location is Melbourne, Australia, Australian Open. You can extrapolate this to any major tournament with identical conditions.
Many players, either out of sheer anxiety or because they don’t think they are well prepared for a big event, tend to overtrain and enter a series of events that ultimately backfire on the tournament where they really want to do well.
EXAMPLES OF WHAT NOT TO DO:
– Stretch into extremely long practice matches or tournament matches the week before a major event.
– Participate in 2 or even 3 tournaments in a row before a Grand Slam or a major tennis event.
-Enter an ATP / WTA Professional Tournament the week before a Grand Slam or Major tennis event. This is a NO NO for a title candidate … especially if you consider yourself one. Let’s take Roger Federer as an example.
– Train too much or train too much the week before a Grand Slam or a major tennis event thinking you need extra training hours to feel safe. Instead, it’s time to slow down.
– Hit the gym and “exercise a little” the week before a Grand Slam or a major tennis event.
– Run long runs the week before a Grand Slam or major tennis event.
EXAMPLES OF WHAT TO DO:
– Start working 6 weeks before the Grand Slam or a Major tennis event 5 to 6 hours a day, tennis training, mental, physical and regeneration. Decreasing at the end of the 2 week training, play the first tournament ideally in the third week. (Yes, in periodization training it’s called microcycle)
– Participate in an official ATP / WTA tournament three weeks before the Major or Grand Slam, play hard and try to win it.
– The next 2 weeks should focus on keeping your reflexes, reaction time, overall strength, speed and stamina alive, reducing the short time and fitness time to 2.30 / 3 hours. Use plenty of variety in workloads and intensity across all training sectors.
– In the week before a Grand Slam or a major tennis event or any tournament, forget about drills and repetitive work and focus on the game, points and variety.
– Take part in an exhibition or play some friendly matches the week before the Grand Slam or a major tennis event.
This is the best way to play a match without the stress of points or ATP / WTA rankings … and it allows you to try anything you have practiced or want to practice.
– Take short sprints and starts to boost your reaction time and speed.
– Keep off-court workouts short, varied, interesting, and lively.
– Smile a lot, enjoy what you are doing, have fun doing it.
– Enjoy your fellow practitioners, make them your friends and admirers.
WHY NOT Participating in a professional ATP / WTA tournament the week before a Grand Slam or a major tennis event?
– As we all know there is no amount of training that can reverse the natural regeneration cycle of our cellular system that goes in high and low cycles of approximately 21 days.
– Playing a winning tournament the week before the Australian Open is a NO NO. Playing 7 days at great cost to both physical and mental resources can drain your much-needed energy for the Grand Slam Tournament.
– Also, considering that the Australian Open is another 15 days adding a total of 22 days until the final, it means that you could rescue the first five days in the Australian Open. But, physically, you are practically doomed to lose in the next 10 days, because after 12 to 15 days your red blood cells start to die and the naturally low red blood cell count will come into play. This reduces your physical performance by 30% or more, resulting in mental and physical fatigue and sloppy performance, leading to crucial mental lapses in close matches. As we saw in the final of the US Open 2007, where Novak Djokovic was a victim of the sun, long matches, a horrendous schedule and the failure of his regenerative system, that is, his red blood cells or the lack of.
– Some try to cheat with EPO and other means to compensate for the lack of red blood cells, but scientists and science labs know that Superman does not exist! … and even if the athlete is not caught by EPO the consequences can be dire: EPO, for example, thickens the blood to a point where the risk of heart attack increases by 90%.
OTHER FACTORS TO ATTENTION:
– Another factor to consider is the myth that practicing in the sun makes you more resistant! That is a complete fable. If you are well conditioned, the week before a Grand Slam like the Australian and during the Australian, if you are a contender, try to practice very early in the morning or very late in the afternoon or in the evening after sunset.
– Stay as far out of the sun as possible. Save every last drop of energy for your matches, training in the Australian sun is suicide, you just don’t need it. (Of course you will need some training in the sun, but keep it to a minimum)
– While you are in the tournament, there is a great temptation to go to a pool at the hotel or elsewhere. Do not do it! Swimming requests muscle groups that will slow you down and even lead to poor coordination.
– Use the Jacuzzi for a short time (max. 5 minutes) for suggested short regeneration and relaxation. Hurry, don’t stay too long, it can turn you into a honeyed swamp for the next day.
– DO NOT go out in the sun to get a full tan, the sun will sap your energy!
– If you are scheduled to play in a one-day match, take the following precautions two or three days before and during tennis matches:
– Drink at least 5 to 8 liters of clean, good water the day before. Yes, you will go to the bathroom a lot, but you will need the fluid reserves.
– Eat the usual carbohydrates, jams, cheese, milk, müsseli, corn flakes, fruits, an occasional beer or a drink of wine (if you are of legal age) etc … and sleep, sleep a lot!
– On the court Do not eat bananas! It’s the most ridiculous thing you can do! Bananas take 3-4 hours to digest and will only carry important and necessary blood to your digestive system that would otherwise be used in other parts of your body to specifically generate or deliver energy to your lungs and muscles (oxygen and glycogens) .
– Take a watermelon already cut and eat it at every break in the first game.
– Take your energy bars and electrolytes with you but, if you need a pump / kick, have a few shots of Coke just before the final stages of each set and especially before the tiebreaks. Of course, you will have to deal with a possible low blood sugar after that, but you won the set!
– DO NOT wait for a physical failure to occur. Take precautionary measures against the sun and fatigue before it happens, once the heat stroke or cramps start, it is too late !:
1-Wear a hat that covers the back of your head / neck if possible (from the first game onwards!).
2- Refresh your head with water or a towel full of ice from the first change!
3- Use a towel full of ice cubes on the back of your neck and leave it there during each game change.
4- Use another towel full of ice cubes at each change and rub your legs well (quads, hamstrings, calves and arms too!)
5- In all changes Drink water, fresh clean and fresh water (do not drink water that is too cold and drink in small sips)
6- As I said before, eat watermelon, a lot of watermelon.
LIQUIDS, VITAMINS AND MINERALS REPLACEMENT FOR TOURNAMENT PLAYERS
There is so much more, but some things are really private, like how many kisses you give your girlfriend! Let me tell you that it didn’t seem to have negatively affected Björn Borg’s tennis performance, on the contrary, he was doing great! In the seventies, while playing the Turó under 18 years of age and the qualifying rounds of the Barcelona Open, almost every night I saw Björn glued to the lips of his girlfriend on the stairs of our hotel! Wow, that devil was a world champion Kisser! But you need to be more serious than Björn and check with your coach or training team before taking any of these steps. (smile)
All the best in your tournament!