Top 5 Inspirational Takeaways from Wimbledon 2014
Incredibly we are almost one year on from Wimbledon 2014 and the impressive title victories of Novak Djokovic and Petra Kvitova. As a prelude to this year’s Championship, we cast our minds back 12 months to two weeks of top level, exciting tennis action and pick our five WatchFit highlights.
Also check out these Inspirational women’s sports stories
1. The incredible fitness levels of the tennis players
Think about it, no match, male or female, was shorter than an hour and some numerous men’s four and five set matches went through the four or five hour barrier. In that time, the player would be sprinting, changing direction, twisting, turning, leaping, smashing the ball – what an incredible workout. And after that marathon-esque performance, the winner would only have a 24-hour recovery period before doing it all again. While the total distance run during a match is probably 5-6 miles at the maximum, it is the quality and explosive nature of that movement that puts such a workload on the player’s joints and muscles.
2. Djokovic’s diet
Novak Djokovic, the emphatic winner of this year’s men’s final, credits his super performances and surge to the top of the rankings to his gluten-free diet and eating ‘warm food’. Djokovic starts his day with a glass of water at room temperature and follows it with two spoonfuls of honey. He eats a “power bowl” of gluten-free oatmeal or muesli, nuts, seeds, fruit, coconut oil and rice or almond milk or coconut water. He eats lots of vegetables and gluten-free pasta, avocado, salads, quinoa, salmon and chicken. While a gluten-free diet is not a rarity, Djokovic is unusual in that he likes his food to be warmed. This is linked to a Chinese-based diet that suggests you digest food better if it is warm. Since starting his gluten-free, work-food diet, Djokovic has cut out the injuries and illnesses that used to plague him in his earlier tennis-playing career.
Image by Kate
3. Federer’s fitness
At 32-years-old Roger Federer defies convention. His longevity in a sport that is notoriously hard on joints and muscles is amazing and he rarely complains of aches and strains. While his rivals suffer back and knee problems – Rafa Nadal missed half a year through a knee problem and Andy Murray is thought to be still on the way back to full form and fitness following a back operation – Roger Federer just keeps going. He has played more than 50 consecutive grand slam matches in a non-stop career that spans 12 years at the top. His secret, according to his fitness coach Pierre Paganini, is recovery and variety. Paganini says that he regularly introduces new exercises to Federer’s training routine and that variety helps to maintain balance and correct any potential problem areas. He is also happy to step away after a tournament and take a few days to recover fully.
4. A good mental approach is key
The women’s Wimbledon champion, Petra Kvitova won Wimbledon two years ago, but was nowhere near that form when she failed to defend her title last year. But in 2014 Kvitova’s head was in the right place. Former champion and insightful commentator Lindsay Davenport commented: “She played the final as if it was a knock about in the park. She went for everything and missed nothing. I’m not sure anyone could have beaten her today.” Kvitova’s two very different Wimbledon experiences within 12 months of each other are living proof that it doesn’t matter what physical shape you are in, if your mind is not in the right place you will not perform your best.
5. It’s not just the stars who can benefit from tennis
You don’t need to be a hard-hitting tennis professional sending down serves at 120 miles an hour to get the benefits of tennis. Here are some ways that tennis can help improve your fitness:
Aerobic and anaerobic fitness – an hour of tennis will burn fat and improve your cardiovascular fitness.
Speed – through a series of side-to-side and forward and back sprints to chase the ball.
Co-ordination – since you have to move into position and then adjust your foot position and upper body to strike the ball successfully.
Flexibility – due to the constant stretching and twisting to return the ball toward your opponent.
Strength – constant sprinting to reach the ball and jumping to hit the ball will help develop power in your legs, while serving and the continuous hitting of the ball with the racket will tone arm and shoulder muscles.