1. Breakfast of Champions
Roger Federer is arguably the best player of all time, and one that any tennis player would love to emulate. So what does a champion eat the morning of a match? It may surprise you to know that Federer’s match-day breakfast includes waffles with raspberry syrup. In addition, he has juice, a shot of vinegar, coffee, cereal, and fruit. Delicious.
2. Freezing Cold Shower
If you’re hoping to follow Rafael Nadal’s routine, brace yourself. Before a match, Nadal takes a freezing cold shower. He says that while he’s in the cold shower he feels his power and resilience grow. Nadal explained to The Telegraph, “I’m a different man when I emerge. I’m activated. I’m in ‘the ﬂow’ … nothing else exists but the battle ahead.”
3. Strength Training
Leading up to Wimbledon, Andy Murray focused on strength training. His fitness trainer Jez Green told Men’s Health that he had Murray work-in complex training to his routine. By moving straight into plyometric moves after lifting, Murray gets power without bulk.
4. Sweeter Than Honey
What does Winnie the Pooh and Novak Djokovic have in common? Their love of honey. In his book “Serve to Win,” Djokovic revealed that everyday he has manuka honey from New Zealand. “The first thing I do out of bed is to drink a tall glass of room-temperature water. The second thing I do might really surprise you: I eat two spoonfuls of honey. Every day.” Djokovic says that he has honey even before matches.
5. Keep It Hairy
Unlike his infamously superstitious coach Goran Ivanisevic, Marin Cilic does not keep a very specific morning routine during tournaments. Of course, having a superstitious coach can have its impact. As Cilic explained to Reuters he and Goran did not shave during the US Open and after the quarters it became itchy. “I said I might shave and he [Goran] goes ‘you’re near the end of the tournament, you can survive another three days.’” So sometimes it’s not what you’re doing that becomes routine, but what you’re not doing.
6. Handstands in the Morning
Serena Williams is known for her strength on and off the court. When she shared a video of her pre-match routine before playing Jelena Jankovic in the Western & Southern Open quarterfinals the world was surprised at just how strong she is. In addition to a little pre-match music and dancing, Serena did handstands. As she explained after her match, “it’s just Serena doing hand stands. Yeah, that’s it. I guess I love hand stands.”
7. Not Working Out
Ever the tennis rebel, in his early twenties John McEnroe did not work out. He said that he used the fact that his competitors like Björn Borg were working out to motivate him. McEnroe explains how he viewed his lack of physical preparation as: “Look, I don’t care how fit you are—I’m gonna beat you anyway.” John McEnroe might be the one tennis player who was able to win on raw talent alone. Of course, it’s worth noting McEnroe changed this approach at the age of 27 and started biking and doing yoga.
8. Training Depends on Court Surface
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times in 1998, Pete Sampras said that he varied his workouts leading up to a tournament depending on the type of surface he’ll be playing on. “If I’m playing on grass, I’ll do short, quick stuff–10 to 20 yards, do a bunch of those because the points are pretty quick and I’m always coming in and playing a lot at net. With the clay, I try to make sure that I’m doing longer, harder stuff because that’s the surface that you’re playing a lot of long points on.”
9. Positive Thinking
Winning takes more than raw talent and workout routines to become an excellent tennis player. It also takes a positive attitude. Many top tennis players work with sports psychologists to improve their mental game on the court. Kei Nishikori, who works with a sports psychologist, says, “It’s made me very strong mentally. You have to enjoy the match, try to stay focused, even if you are losing, and to always see a goal.”
10. Grab Sunscreen
After her shower, the first thing Maria Sharapova does is put on her sunscreen. Maria explains, “It’s important for me to think about sunscreen early in the day, because as you go about your day, you’re thinking about the challenges ahead and the activities you’re doing and [sunscreen] is almost not on your mind anymore.” So remember to slather sunscreen all over your face and body if you’re going to be in the sun for hours on end.