Interview with Sloane Stephens.
Hopefully you managed to take some time off and relax during the off season? I went to stay with family up in Fresno for the holidays, which I do every year. While I love living in Los Angeles, it is always nice to get away and spend time with family and get my mind off tennis.
Why is pre-season training so important for a tennis player? It gives our bodies time to recover and also make some changes to our game. It’s very hard to make changes during the season. Due to my injury, my season ended a little earlier than most of the girls, so I have had a lot of time to get healthy and train.
What types of training have you been doing off the court? Anything new compared with previous years? I have been combining physical therapy with fitness this off-season. I needed to rehab my abdomen while staying in good tennis shape. I have been doing fitness and physical therapy with Athletes Performance at the Home Depot Center. Chang Lee, who also works with the likes of David Beckham and Derrick Rose, has been running my fitness and physical therapy sessions. He is incredible at his job.
Are you working with the same coaching and fitness team? David Nainkin will still be my coach this season. David is an amazing coach and we work very well together. Troy Hahn will also be helping me alongside David. Between those two and my mom, I have a great team behind me at tournaments.
The first grand slam of the year isn’t far away – do you have any special memories of Melbourne? Or is there anything you particularly look forward to about that time of year and the Australian Open? Well last year was my best result at the Australian Open, but it was only the second round. I am looking to improve on that result this year. I do love the Australian Open though, because the crowd is amazing and city is so laid back. It is one of my favorite tournaments of the year, and I am excited to see how my off-season training has paid off.