What is the secret to having the energy at the end of a tennis match to still be able to play your best, without fading away… or to be able to come back the next day? One of the answers, according to Roy Emerson is to “overdo your preparation.”
The Task Master: Roy Emerson
Emerson tells of the extreme training methods Harry Hopman, his original Australian coach, put all the players through in preparation for matches. He said, if he was going to play a three-set match, he would play four sets a day; and if he were playing a five-set match, he would practice six sets.
In a phone interview, Emmo said, “When I played Wimbledon, I would book a court for ten days before the Queens tournament; and get a practice partner. I would do a half court workout for an hour and a half in the morning; and then play six sets in the afternoon; and do that for several days and then ease up four or five days before the event.”
“Just do your training to your own ability. The most important part of tennis is the ability to put points together; and the only way you can do that is to play simulated matches. Rallying from the baseline, without running, is a waste of time. As a senior, you are not going to get fit for tennis in a gym.”
“When you are in 110% physical condition, the next day you feel ready to play. It is stupid to win a hard match and not be ready to play the next day.”
The Reluctant Warrior: Fred Stolle
According to Australian Legend, Fred Stolle, “Harry Hopman, early in my career, did not care for my training routine, which did not include a big component of his RUNNING, which l did not care for.
“Australia won many Davis Cup matches because we ALWAYS had the fittest team. In those days it was called the Challenge Round, where all nations played throughout the year, then played the holder in the Champions country!
“We had played five or six grass court events by that time, as a team with Hop working us out after playing best of five matches in the Aussie summer. So, by the time we played the nation that had struggled through to us we were so fit we could stay out there all day.”
The Tarantino Ten
Most senior tennis players won’t (can’t) train like the Aussies of old; but one player has come up with a much smaller, more doable version. Good Naples friend and fellow Newk camper, Rich Tarantino advises you push yourself harder at the end of your practice sessions/matches.
He says, “When you think you are tired and about ready to stop, push yourself hard for another ten minutes; and it will pay dividends in your next match, when you start tiring.”
I am a believer and have adopted “The Tarantino Ten” into all my practice sessions.
What do YOU do to improve your fitness?
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