Fitness Rules of Champions: Train Like an Athlete

The Mubadala World Tennis Championship is back for a seventh year, bringing the best display of world class tennis entertainment to the Emirates. Six of the world’s best players will battle it out on centre court at the International Tennis Centre at Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi as they compete for the prestigious Championship title – and a winner takes-all prize of $250,000 – over three action packed days.
 

This January the world’s number 1 champion Novak Djokovic was back to defend his title alongside previous victors, such as Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
 

We had the opportunity to interview two famous professional tennis players, firstly the French player Gael Monfils and secondly the Swiss player Stan Wawrinka.
 

Gael Monfils
 

Gael-Monfils
 

What role does diet play in your sporting success – how much of a focus is your diet or does it not matter due to the amount of calories you burn daily?
I naturally burn a lot of calories daily because when I am not training for tennis I am playing football or basketball. My diet has not always been my highest priority however now I am being a lot more focused about it.
 

What would a typical day’s eating and drinking look like for you?
I usually eat cereal for breakfast, and then lots of rice, pasta, chicken and fish for lunch and dinner. My daily food intake is quite boring.
 

Are there any super-foods you can’t get enough of or bad foods you would never touch?
I am allergic to cheese so sadly I will never have any. However I love Caribbean food cooked by my parents, but I don’t get to see them very often hence I don’t get to eat it as often as I would like.
 

What about food which you probably shouldn’t have but struggle to resist?
Maybe Greek sandwiches?
 

What are the ultimate fitness moves that you use to keep yourself in top shape?
I take dance classes, I love them as they are super physical and keep me in great shape!
 

Stan Wawrinka
 

Wawrinka
 

Mubadala is seen as the start of the tennis season – how do you prepare for the start of a new year?
I’m doing my fitness preparation together with my fitness coach Pierre Paganini in December as well as an intensive tennis practice. Having played the Davis Cup Final this year during my off-season, I find it very important to strike the right balance between resting and getting ready for the new season.
 

Do you make changes to your fitness regime or preparations?
Not really. Together with my team we know what works well for me and I like to stick to my routine.
 

How many hours a day do you practise when not competing?
It depends very much on the time of the year. During an intensive preparation stage I play tennis for four hours and additionally do two hours of fitness on top of that.
 

What do you do to unwind after a match?
I like to sit together with my team and go over what I just did, or go drive my bike and listen to some music.
 

What role does diet play in your sporting success – how much of a focus is your diet or does it not matter due to the amount of calories you burn daily?
It does matter. I eat a bit of everything but try to stay healthy. I usually eat a lot of fish and vegetables, but I also like to taste the local cuisines when I travel. But of course before matches I stick to my routine, and just have some salad and a plate of pasta.
 

What would a typical day’s eating and drinking look like for you?
I always start the day with a fresh bottle of Evian and I always carry a bottle with me. Staying hydrated is very crucial for me so I try and drink several litres of water on and off the court. I’m also a big coffee lover, so I have several cups of coffee per day. My breakfast is pretty normal, some bread and jam, orange juice and fruit as well along with one or two cups of coffee of course. For lunch I often have salad and pasta. For dinner everything is fine, from sushi to meat or fish. I like everything, also every now and then I eat a small dessert as it doesn’t hurt.
 

What about food which you probably shouldn’t have but struggle to resist?
Being Swiss I love Fondue and Raclette. It’s so yummy, I don’t think it can hurt if you have it every once in a while during winter.
 

Leave a Reply