KEEP FIT Indian tennis’ golden boy, Somdev Devvarman, talks about what it takes to stay fit on the court and why training for tennis is very hard… MADHUMITHA SRINIVASAN
The Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, without any doubt, ensured Somdev Devvarman’s place in Indian tennis’ Hall of Fame. And it wasn’t an easily earned status either. Behind any success story is a long spell of hard work and determination and that holds good for this young tennis star as well.What does it takes to stay fit and healthy in the professional tennis circuit for this young player?So when NXg met up with this 25-year-old, who was in the city for the Aircel Chennai Open last week, fitness dominated the conversation…
Your first blog entry is about how 25 days off-season in tennis is too short a period to take a break and get back in shape and hence the need for a longer off season. Why is ‘25 days’ too short a period to get fit?
Getting fit doesn’t happen in a week or a month; it’s a process. To start the process, you first need some time off to relax your mind and body and then get back in the routine. When you only have a month or so to do it, you are not giving yourself time to get the best out of yourself. When you are put in a situation where you don’t really have a choice, you have to try and make the best out of the situation.
What does your off-season training include?
Lots of workouts on the tracks, sprints, running on the track, long-distance runs, a lot of work on the gym, quite a lot of lifting and lots of hours on the tennis court. Working out in a gym or at home. What’s your choice? It doesn’t really matter as long as it’s a good work environment. It’s what you do for a living so that’s how you look at it; not anything showy. You just workout. It’s the same thing at a gym. I just try and do my work and try and get better.
How is training specifically for tennis different from training for other sports?
What you’ve got to realise about tennis is that often you have less than 24 hours to recover. It’s incredible to see what Federer and Nadal are doing because they make it to the finals pretty much every week they play. That’s something you don’t see too much in other sports especially those that are this physical, where you are running, hitting and putting in a lot of effort for every ball. Even in sports like soccer, people play two games a week. In American football they play on Sundays. That’s what makes tennis unique; playing like this every single day, travelling to a different country and doing the same thing. Eventually, it wears down your body. Basically, you’ve got to work on your stamina and find a way to not get tired; to be always fresh.
How do you break the monotony of workout?
Simple. You don’t do the same thing everyday. For example, during off-season this year, we had specific days for specific things. Some days we worked on speed; distance on some days and agility on others. We do it in different ways. We were lucky to be in a group. When you divide up your group and have competitions, bets on the line with losers buying dinners, your workout is made fun. It never gets boring.
How do you compare gyms in India with ones abroad?
All of them are pretty much the same. They’re all good. What people don’t realise is how simple things are. You don’t need to have complicated big machinery. You just need to have simple things that everybody can use and work with. That’s the most important thing. And the work environment. Make do with what you have, rather than crib about what you don’t. Do’s and don’t’s of sports fitness.Always finish healthy. If you don’t, you are probably not doing it right.
Favourite workout: Lower body in the gym
In your gym bag: Extra clothes and my iPod
Favourite fitness brand: Lacoste
Music you like listening to while working out: Anything soothing
On-court bites: Bananas
A celebrity non-tennis player you would like to partner with on court: Usain Bolt
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