How to prepare like the pros

Published by Nathan and Giselle Martin

Rafa Nadal is meticulous in his preparation
If you want to win like the world’s top players you need to prepare like them too. We share qualities that are essential for getting the most from your training and tennis.

What do Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka all have in common? They possess an aura of invincibility that has been created through hours of dedication and focus.

That’s particularly true when it comes to those players’ training techniques; the hours they’ve spent on court are nothing compared to the time they’ve taken to prepare for their matches.

Work on these five positive attributes and you may find yourself walking around with more confidence and style.

1. Attitude
By far this is the number one attribute players should strive to achieve and maintain. Having a positive, competitive, hard working attitude will put any player in good stead. A healthy attitude will not only benefit a player’s tennis game, but will also draw the attention of coaches and other players – it can make the world of difference if you find yourself in a tight spot on match day.

2. Persistence
Being persistent means waking up every morning and following a plan, following it with passion, day in, day out, no matter what the weather is like or how you are feeling, giving 100 percent in that moment. That’s how progress comes.

3. Discipline
Players need to learn how to control what they can control; discipline gives them more control over more things. Control will improve their game and other aspects of their lives. Discipline, in many areas, is needed to get the most out of a player; including: diet, recovery, hydration, off-court training, punctuality, court conduct and respect for others.

When players show up to practice, they need to be ready and focused for the entire session; this is how you develop vital match play skills. It is too easy to show up and go through the motions; any young player can do that. Striving to remain focused, and in the moment, will set up a valuable skill.

5. Quality work ethic
Any player who has made it to the top has worked hard, day in, day out for years and years. That is a given. Players, who want to maximise their potential, need to do exactly the same. Hard work ethic is about putting in 100 percent effort and 100 percent intensity in every session. Chasing balls, never giving up and staying committed is expected every time. Don’t be afraid to encourage players to push themselves, otherwise they will never know how much they have and what their limits are

Nathan and Giselle Martin, of Tennis Fitness, have been in the health and fitness industry for 20 years. They travelled on the WTA Tour for numerous years and also worked at the Sanchez Casal Tennis Academy in Barcelona, Spain. They’ve worked with Sam Stosur, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Jennifer Capriati, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Monica Seles, Martina Navratilova and Lleyton Hewitt. For further information visit

This article first appeared in Australian Tennis Magazine.

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