A Day in the Life of Daria Gavrilova
Being a professional athlete means a lot of routine and preparation. ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Match Play ambassador DARIA ‘DASHA’ GAVRILOVA shares what a match day looks like for her during the Australian Open.
I love playing at the Australian Open. Not only because it is my favourite tennis tournament and the fans are always amazing, but because I get to stay at home. It’s a nice change from staying in hotels like I do for most of the season.
The days are really long when you are preparing for matches. You might be only playing for an hour and a half, but the whole preparation takes a lot longer.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so I never skip it. I like to change up what I eat depending on how I feel. Sometimes I have porridge or oats. But if I feel like a savory breakfast, I’ll have eggs on sour dough bread or avocado on toast.
Some players like to eat the same thing, especially if they are winning. But I can’t eat the same thing all the time. I think if you’re winning and just eating the same meal, you’re pretty much punishing yourself. I’m not a very superstitious person. I don’t think it is a good thing to be too superstitious. If something goes wrong and you really believe in it, then it’s not up to you. It’s pretty silly. I do have a few lucky charms on my racquet bag, but that’s all.
If I’m playing a later match, I still like to get to Melbourne Park early. I spend half-an-hour stretching and warming up my body before going on court for a light 30-minute hit. It is good just to hit a few balls and get my body going.
I’ll then go home for a light lunch. It’s good to eat protein before a match, so I’ll often have chicken with pasta or brown rice. When I know I’ve got an important match later that day, I try not to think about it too much. I try to live a normal day, so I might have a snooze or find something else to do to keep my mind busy.
Depending on how my body is feeling, sometimes I need to make time to get taped before a match. Now it is time to warm-up again and wait for my match. Tennis players get pretty good at waiting, as it something we have to do a lot!
TENNIS POST-MATCH RECOVERY TIPS
As soon as a match is done, it is time to cool down. So I’ll jump on the exercise bike, where my coaches usually join me to talk about the match.
I always try to eat within 30 minutes of a match finishing. I like to eat protein and carbohydrates after a match, so that often means lots of vegetables.
After that, it is time for a massage to help my body recover, as well as fitting in any media requests for interviews.
There can be some late finishes, sometimes it is after midnight by the time I’m ready to leave Melbourne Park. Hopefully I’m leaving with a big smile on my face as a winner – if not, there’s always the next tournament to look forward to and the chance to keep improving.
I like to get over nine hours of sleep a night, so after a big day it’s time to get some rest and get ready to do it all again the next day.
- This article originally appeared in ATM 4 Kids magazine. Order your copy now!