The focus of the tennis world this month was transfixed on the premiere tournament of the sport: Wimbledon.
Whenever Wimbledon is on, it tends to see an uptake in the British public picking up a racquet and playing as they look to emulate the likes of homegrown hero Andy Murray, seven-time champion Novak Djokovic and current women’s world No 1 Iga Swiatek.
And in the build-up to the action getting underway at SW19, Mail Sport were given an insight into the lifestyle of a tennis player.
Courtesy of ASICS, we were invited to their ASICS House of Tennis experience to see how their athletes epitomise ASICS acronym of Strong Mind, Sound Body (from the Latin phrase: anima sana in corpore sano).
Among their list of athletes, ASICS can boast Swiatek, Belinda Bencic, Alex de Minaur, Christopher Eubanks, Wimbledon boy’s champion Henry Searle and Djokovic who wear their apparel. And it was the latter’s routine that Mail Sport got a glimpse of at first hand to sample.
Before the event began, we were asked to fill out a form compiled by Dr Brendon Stubbs – a physiotherapist and acclaimed mental well-being researcher. Rating how we feel on a scale of 1-10 (with one = not at all, five = average and 10 = extremely) the subject matter of the questions ranged from coping with stress to feeling energised.
This quick survey was then put against our answers after the activities so we could compare the before and after on our physical and mental state of mind.
And once that was completed, we moved on to the dietary demands.
Djokovic has a gluten-free and plant-based diet but starts his day with a glass of warm water and lemon – citing in the past that it ‘helps his body detoxify’.
Once that it has been consumed it’s on to the ‘power bowl’. Described as an ‘energy-boosting bowl’ this comprised of mixed seeds, mixed nuts, gluten-free muesli, berries, strawberries, banana and yoghurt.
Completing his morning meal, the Serb washes it all down with a glass of celery juice and a green smoothie. The latter is comprised of peas, celery, apple juice, mint, spinach and kale. Both drinks are packed with antioxidant-rich ingredients.
After digesting the above, it was on to meditation and yoga – a staple of Djokovic’s daily routine.
Lasting just 20-minutes, this gentle session involved several stretches and box-breathing exercises which culminated in a state of tranquility for everyone taking part.
The box-breathing itself involved inhaling and counting to four, before pausing for another four seconds and then exhaling for the same amount of time before repeating it all again.
And then it was on to the actually tennis. But first it was a warm-up led by former British tennis player-now-coach Alex Ward. Ward, who now coaches Great Britain’s Katie Swan, led the routine with plenty of dynamic exercises ranging from the upper body through to the lower extremities.
Now fully warm, we focused on volleys – a staple of the grasscourt season. Admittedly most of those present – Mail Sport included – could not replicate the deft art of the professionals (shock) but we all grew in confidence as the session wore on – which concluded with De Minaur and Bencic looking for volleying-hitting partners when they joined in hitting against a wall.
De Minaur and Bencic then spoke to Mail Sport and the others about what it takes to succeed on and off the court.
Those tips concluded the session but what about the earlier survey results? From Dr Stubbs’ survey it was found that there was a positive link between movement and better mental health.
Overall, participants’ State of Mind Index Scores improved by 17.6 per cent, meaning that the event’s attendees felt more uplifted after completing the experience across a number of different mental health criteria, including confidence, calmness and focus.
Below are some additional findings that the survey found:
- Participants felt 31.5 per cent more positive after completing the routine
- Attendees felt 24.3 per cent more calm as well as 17.8 per cent more confident at the end of the experience
- Participants felt 22.1 per cent better equipped with stress having taking part in the regime
With the championships now over and that insight duly noted it’s time for Mail Sport to try and replicate all of the above on to a tennis court.
But it’s safe to say, Carlos Alcaraz, Djokovic and Co have nothing to worry about!