Stosur says strong legs and core are important in tennis because of the quick bursts of speed and lateral movement. Her workouts include biking, weights and stretch-band exercises for her serving shoulder, and she has access to a fitness trainer, massage therapist and sports psychologist. Stosur practices tennis drills and points on the court, followed by stretching and cardio for 30 minutes or 45 minutes of weights on alternate days. During the two-month offseason “you can make good gains with endurance, speed or strength.” In Tampa last week, Stosur and coach Dave Taylor focused on tennis only and downed 72 bottles of water over three days of practice in high humidity….
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Given Andy Murray’s history in tennis, it was only natural that one of the first questions asked of him following his masterful and surprisingly comprehensive demolition of top-seeded Roger Federer in the Olympic games gold-medal match at Wimbledon was: Yes, but is it as superb an achievement as winning a Grand Slam event?
Television commentator John McEnroe went there, mere minutes after Murray, the No. 3 seed, sealed his 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 win on Centre Court with a pair of thunderbolt aces. McEnroe tried to phrase the question delicately, asking how it felt to win this event compared to a Grand Slam.
Murray, an honest guy, reminded McEnroe that he couldn’t actually answer that, seeing as how he’d never won a Grand Slam, but he wasn’t going to downplay what he’d just accomplished. “I know how this feels, and it’s just great.”
We can set aside the circumstantial evidence that some will use to rationalize Federer’s subpar performance (like the lingering effects of that draining 4½-hour semifinal match with Juan Martin del Potro, finally won by Federer after a 19-17 third set). The way Murray played Sunday would be enough to fool anyone that it was he, not Federer, who had long-term lease on that famous patch of green turf.
Murray faced just one crisis in the match, that agonizingly long third game of the second set. (Murray led at the time by a set and a break, 2-0.) Had Federer converted any of his six break points in that 15-minute game, it might have been a longer match, but perhaps not one with a very different conclusion — not unless Murray came apart at the seams from failing to consolidate that critical break.
But the 25-year-old Scot was at his toughest when it most mattered, and he finally managed to play the aggressive and unyielding match that had seemed beyond his grasp in four unsuccessful Grand Slam finals — and a passel of semis against one or another of the big three (Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal). And Murray got a grip on the match right from the get-go, which isn’t something…