Greatest sporting achievement: Winning my bronze medal in singles at the Athens Olympics. A close second was winning the French Open women’s doubles with my partner Mara Santangelo.
Who is your sporting heroine? Steffi Graf – watching her as a youngster inspired me to play.
How many hours per week to you train/exercise? I would normally exercise for tennis between 15-17 hours per week. I would spend a minimum of one hour day off the court, for physical preparation and/or exercise. This could be weights, running or pilates – I need to mix it up.
What kind of diet or nutrition plan are you on? I don’t have a nutrition plan however I am conscious of including all the necessary vitamins and minerals in my diet naturally. Playing sport means that iron is always important, so I love a steak. I love green veggies – broccoli and brussels sprouts are a favourite.
For my joints I make sure I eat a lot of fish for the omega3s. I don’t eat fast food but with take out there are always healthy options so it’s just a matter of choosing them. I try not to fret over food; if I overdo it I go out and punish myself the next day.
What do you love about your sport? The freedom tennis gives you is what I love. You are ultimately in charge of your own destiny on the singles court.
If you could change something about your sport, what would it be? I would get rid of the Hawk-Eye system. I think it takes all the emotion out of the sport. Players in the past would lose the plot and mentally struggle to regain their form after a bad line call, and this made for interesting viewing!
What motivates you? The desire to beat people and win. I have always been competitive but there is nothing better than beating someone whom got the better of you last time on the match court.
I’m also motivated to improve each day and try new things. There is always something to learn in the sport – that in itself is motivating to try and acquire a new skill.
Three words that describe you: Relaxed, forgiving, patient
If I wanted to play your sport, what advice would you give me? For those want to play tennis, first I would advise you to find a racquet with a comfortable grip size. Borrowing one is just fine – my first racquet was one dad bought me from an op shop!
There are so many local clubs so give yours a call and invite a friend along for a social hit together or you can book in a lesson with your local coach. You can be at any level to join a club, so if you have never played in your life that is not a problem also. To get a head start, find a hitting wall somewhere. You would be amazed how 30 minutes against the wall every day improves your game.