Glorious sunshine, wilting grass and players, these may be the enduring memories of this year’s Wimbledon. More than 10 players  retired with injuries this year not including Murray and Cilic who both played out on one good leg. What does any of this mean for you as a recreational player?

Very little, on first reflection, as these are professional athletes who train regularly to play their sport for, in some cases, large amounts of money most weeks of each year. All of the pros suffer injuries at various times in their career, both acute and chronic, despite their regular training. (Murray says he has had a hip problem from about age 22). Did any of you pick up on commentators like Becker and McEnroe swapping stories about their replacement surgery! Tennis is one of the most demanding sports physically, and mentally, at all levels! It’s why we love it.

It’s not news that professional athletes get injured. They are paid to play and many have access to the best training and medical advice and may consider what they do to their bodies is worth the risk for the rewards.

But what about You? What are the compensations for you for the aches, pains and chronic conditions you may suffer now or in the future.

I have spent 35 years playing recreational sport without any understanding of the need for the best training method for the sports I played. My playing results were, with a few exceptions, unspectacular and always unpaid. My body took the hit continually and I now have ankle, knee, hip and shoulder problems but I am playing my best tennis now!  thanks to Functional Training.

I met a Gift Fellow from the Gray Institute about 7 years ago and after my initial rehab, it was clear to me that functional training would enable me to play better tennis with less risk of injury and free of the soreness, stiffness and pain that usually followed playing.

I continue to study with the Gray Institute as a preferred member and was awarded CAFS in 2013. My teaching method is based on a functional understanding of the bodies’s design and as I have, you too can benefit from this approach, which looks to create or regain your range of motion, for performance development and a greatly reduced risk of injury.

Others players I meet use “wonder gels” and ” elasticated supports” to play. I have a 15 minute morning routine, a 20 minute pre play routine and a 5 minute cool down which enables me to play 3 times a week and coach 6 days each week. The majority of my functional training is at home either in my room, living room or in the garden and requires no equipment other than a foam roller, tri-stretch and dumbbells. Gyms are an option but not one I prefer.

If you want to enhance and sustain your ability for the “game for life” contact me if you live in the Mole Valley district, Surrey. See Tennissustainability.com

If you live further afield use this link to find to find a GIFT Fellow near to you. They are unlikely to be Tennis Coaches as well, but will help you identify what sort of functional rehab and training you need. There is one exception the GIFT Fellow Magnus Norman who coaches Stan Wawrinka and if you live in Stockholm he has his “Good to Great” Academy 

A lot has been written about longevity already, with the Big Four, Venus in the final at 37, Roger winning 2 slams in his 36th year ,so no need for me to add more except the word “sustainability”

We will have our own take on GOAT’s, (Greatest of all Time) for me it’s Rafa not least because of his determination to overcome injury and to continue to improve to win.

Vaughan Ebrahim
LTA accredited Level 4 Senior Club Coach.
Gray Institute CAFS. Certificate in Movement Science