Match preparation

Match preparation

I’m often asked by friends what the locker room at a tournament looks like. They really vary, to be honest: at a Grand Slam they are large and there are usually two of them, whereas at smaller tournaments they are far more compact, usually with just the bare necessities. At the larger ones there are sofas and I’ve even seen a hot tub.

I like to relax as much as I can before a match, so I try to find a peaceful space. I will often sit on one of the sofas and read a book while I’m waiting for my match to be called.

I love reading and I always have a book with me. I’m currently reading The Passage by Justin Cronin. I enjoy the vast majority of books I read: I can usually find something in them that I can relate to tennis. For example, Paulo Coelho’s Warrior of the Light taught me a little bit about mental preparation for matches.

If I’m not reading a book in the locker room I’ll be listening music. Along with a book and lip gloss, my iPod is something I will always have in my handbag. I listen to the same playlist for a while and I often have a song playing in my head during a tournament – including when I am on the court!

Right now I can’t get the songs S&M by Rihanna and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way out of my head!  I’m sure they’ll be playing at the back of my mind during matches here this week.

During tournaments I’m obviously very dedicated and will do everything I can to ensure that I am in the best physical condition. Recovery is obviously an important part, and this often involves ice bathes!

Occasionally I will go to the cinema, but most often I watch movies on DVD. I think the last time I went to the cinema during a tournament was in Luxembourg last year. Actually, it was after my final match, because I missed my flight so I went to watch a movie – The Social Network, which I enjoyed.

Hopefully I won’t have any time to watch movies this week – that will mean I am winning matches!

The above column was published today in Marca newspaper in Spain