As a professional tennis player facing a three-month stint on the road, what do you pack?
For Daria Gavrilova, it’s four bags’ worth of (mostly) clothes, tipping the scales at around 70 kilograms.
“I really want to pack a lot of casual outfits but then I can’t really because I’ve got so much tennis stuff,” the world No.24 laughed.
“I take one big suitcase, one tennis bag and then I take my racquets out of this tennis bag and put my clothes in it. Then I have a backpack where I travel with my tennis racquets – I always take those on board with me. And then I’ve got another little suitcase that I can just take with me on the plane, where I put my computer and more clothes.
“My parents come to see me and they take some stuff away and then sometimes when I’m sick of my clothes, I’ll tell them to bring me some more (laughter).”
Due to Australia’s isolated geography, Aussie tennis players embark on some of the longest continuous stints away from home. They don’t have the luxury of being able to pop home for a week between tournaments.
Members of Australia’s Fed Cup team were all preparing to undertake the 24-hour flight to Europe following their victory over Netherlands on 21-22 April.
Gavrilova, Ash Barty and Destanee Aiava will not get the chance to return home until after Wimbledon in mid-July, while Sam Stosur, who has a training base in Florida, wasn’t planning to return to Australia until after the US Open in September.
Yet none of the Aussie girls haul quite the same volume of luggage overseas as Gavrilova.
“I think I’m probably a little more simple than Dash in that regard,” Barty laughed.
“I probably take about 30-35 kilos with me. Pretty much a lot of black, white, grey and blue that all match together. When we’re going out to dinners we’re pretty cruisey – we’re not really going to too many extravagant places. And you take a couple of nice things that you need; you certainly need to have a bit of a versatile wardrobe. Obviously we get a few fresh things with clothing sponsors, so that keeps it a little bit interesting.”
While Gavrilova enjoys the travel that comes with playing tournaments and rarely suffers from homesickness, both Barty and Aiava described themselves as “homebodies”.
Aiava, a teenager getting more of a taste of life as a touring professional, has ensured she doesn’t go without some of the “homely” things Barty describes.
“I always frame pictures that I take overseas with me so I can keep them on my bedside table. Definitely include some good Aussie snacks in your bag,” she said.
“I think taking casual clothes is a must as well. Just so you look at it and you tell yourself, OK, I have to go out and sightsee, whenever you have time.
“It gets pretty tough on tour. I’m kind of used to it, but I don’t like flying. And living out of a suitcase is pretty boring for me. I try and keep my schedule as short as I possibly can but still get as much as I need to on the court. I definitely miss home, and the food, especially – I love Australia.
“I take 30 kilos for my suitcase and just my tennis bag, because I’ll be getting Nike (apparel) packs there so I don’t want to be carrying five or 10 bags bag home and pay extra.”
Stosur, who at 34 is twice Aiava’s age, is a tour veteran of who turned pro almost 20 year ago. She said she’s come to like certain “luxuries” that make the constant grind of travelling more bearable.
“It sounds stupid, and I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I take a little paring knife and a little tiny plastic chopping board so if you go to the supermarket and buy some fruit, you can just have it in your room,” she explained.
“I do have a travel kettle, then I take my little coffee plunger and coffee from home. In the mornings you can have your own little coffee and just make it feel homely.
“It’s just as I’ve gotten older, sometimes you just like to do things yourself and you don’t want to have to go out all the time.”
Unlike her compatriots, Stosur wasn’t able to pack light and supplement her stocks with extra playing gear overseas; sponsor Asics had already delivered a European season’s worth of shoes to her Australian address.
Yet despite that, she still wouldn’t be taking as much with her as Gavrilova.
“I take two big bags,” Stosur said.
“Dasha doesn’t change her shoes that much – somehow she can wear the same pair (without worrying about them wearing out). I’ll take a pair of claycourt shoes for every week. So I’m gonna take like five pairs of shoes or something … that suitcase fills up really quickly and it’s really heavy.
“So I’m gonna take all my shoes, probably take one pair of runners, a couple of casual shoes, a pair of sandals, boots … that’s like a whole bag! So that makes it a bit hard.”
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