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As a former Australian Open champion, German tennis star Angelique Kerber knows a thing or two about what it takes to achieve on-court success.
Ahead of her Round One clash in the 2022 Australian Open this afternoon, the 34-year-old has shared some of the key elements of her off-court fitness routine with Yahoo Lifestyle, as well as the crucial role rest and recovery plays in her performance.
While the hours spent hitting balls on the court are extremely important, the former world No.1 and winner of three Grand Slam tournaments says Peloton has become an "essential part" of her training routine.
"I need to have long term goals in order to push my limits when exercising. That's my motivation, my drive, to continuously improve and get better," Angelique tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
"For instance, as someone who always enjoyed working out as part of a community, Peloton immediately excited me. Especially during these current times, when I didn’t have my team around me which was often the case during the beginning of the pandemic."
Preparing mentally for the Australian Open
The Olympic silver medallist also uses regular yoga and meditation classes to help prepare herself mentally, especially ahead of a big tournament like the Australian Open, saying she is "willing to invest whatever it takes to reach my goals".
"For me it is extremely important to find a way to balance my body and mind, and remain passionate about what I’m doing," she says.
"The Australian Open is the first big event of the new tennis season which makes it a little more challenging mentally to get back into the match routine after a two-month long off-season.
"Especially this year, since I did not have a chance to play a warm up tournament prior to the Australian Open. However, what helps is certainly the experience that I’ve gained throughout my career to get ready in time."
The importance of rest and recovery
Having made her professional tennis debut in 2003, Angelique has also learned the importance of having the right recovery strategy in place.
Otherwise she says there is "no improvement and a much higher risk of injury".
"I’ve been on the professional tour long enough to understand when my body needs a break," she tells us.
"It takes time to understand that when you’re a young athlete that is restless and eager to make it to the top. But eventually I learned to listen to my body and it's been the key ever since to having a long career with very little interruptions due to injuries.
"Taking a rest day when I need it, also helps me give my mind a break. I absolutely need time to relax and reset in order to play my best tennis."
Of course, the Peloton comes in handy for her Active regeneration (or active recovery) sessions, and around the world Angelique has seen huge strides in the area of recovery.
"In recent years, the recovery part has become much more important, also in terms of injury prevention, reflected by the fact that all of the big tournaments, including the Australian Open, have upgraded their training facilities with ice baths amongst other recovery equipment," she explains.
Angelique faces Kaia Kanepi in Round One of the Australian Open at 5pm tonight.
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