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Tennis Star Sam Stosur's Training Tips

Sam getting ready to serve. (Photo by Kelly Branan, USANA Health Sciences)

Tennis pro Samantha Stosur is hitting the courts for the BNP Paribas Open this week, but the busy 2011 U.S. Open champion still found time to fill us in about how she prepares for intense competitions. Did you know this 27-year-old has been playing tennis professionally since she was 13? Read on for her training and motivation tips.

Right now you’re competing in the BNP Paribas Open. How do you prepare for a tournament like this? I'm trying to spend as much time as possible on the courts practicing with my coach, so I know what to expect in a match. I spend about two hours a day practicing—any more than that would be too much. Some days I try to get a massage, too.

How do you get psyched up for a match? I'm always ramped up to go on the court. I warm up by running around the court, doing short drills and going over the game plan with my coach. This helps me focus on what's ahead so I know exactly what to do.

Describe your training in the months leading to a big event like this one. I have tournaments scheduled pretty close together, so there aren't long periods in between to just train. You learn what you need to do and how to get better after every practice or game. I've learned that just because you're good on the court one day, doesn't mean you'll be better the next day. Your performance is an accumulation of your day-to-day routine.

What do you eat before and after a game? Before, I'll have carbs like pasta with chicken, something simple. After, I like go to a restaurant and enjoy where I am, as long as I'm eating a nutritious meal. I enjoy eating, so I like to visit restaurants when I'm traveling. I also make sure to get my vitamins daily. It's easy to get run down and stressed, so vitamins help me bounce back.

What's a day off like for you? Days off are rare for me, but I like to take it easy when I have one and spend the day without a plan. I like to watch movies, go to a cafe or restaurant and catch up with friends, and go to the beach.

What other sports do you enjoy when you're not competing? I like to mix it up. I like boxing, rock climbing and going to the gym. I also run, which helps with my tennis game, too.

What tips do you have for people who are just learning to play? You've got to enjoy it. The more you enjoy doing it, the more you'll improve. Play with someone who's a little better than you to keep you motivated. Find the right equipment and play with your friends to make it fun.