Australian Tennis Magazine tackles the question of the perfect tennis body in its October 2013 Body + Health issue, featuring Rafael Nadal on the cover. Here are two articles featured in the issue.
First Serve: Is imperfect the new perfect? -by Vivienne Christie, Editor
Is there such a thing as a perfect tennis body? As you consider the muscled but superbly athletic players we so admire at the top of the game, there certainly seems to be many examples.
Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal, who strengthened their respective positions among the greats with their recent US Open victories, would at first glance appear to be the best of those case studies. Strength, movement and awesome athleticism are testament to the tireless work that each champion has undertaken to become their best physical selves.
Yet as we know, Nadal and Serena are actually far from perfect when it comes to their physicality. A year before his second US Open triumph and 13th Grand Slam success, Nadal was nursing a persistent knee problem that many predicted would end his record-breaking career. Serena, who now matches Roger Federer with her 17 major singles titles, not only overcame a career-threatening injury but a potentially life-threatening one when she developed blood clots following a complicated foot ailment.
Lleyton Hewitt also showed his mettle in New York. Many thought the former world No. 1 and 2001 US Open champion was a spent force after undergoing four surgeries in six years but a fourth round finish in 2013, where he overcame sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro in the second round, showed that’s far from true.
If there’s a certain irony in the fact that those stars required such tough physical tests to demonstrate resilience of both their bodies and minds, there’s also a lesson in it for others. We explore some of them in this month’s Body & Health special. (Read the rest of the editorial on the website.)
Body of Proof: Top 10 Bodies – The tennis writer’s view by Suzi Petkovski
Lean, strong, towering, compact, finely balanced or superbly elastic. If professional players come in so many shapes and sizes there can hardly be be thing as the perfect tennis body. Even, we’ve shortlisted some of the finest…and the reasoning might surprise you.
Top 10 Bodies
Rafael Nadal: Built like a gladiator – refer eye-popping pistols and pecs and tightly packed abs, Rafa’s physicality is intimidating before he even swats a ball.
Novak Djokovic: Gluten-free never worked so good. The sleek Serb is a long, lean- muscled running machine with the flex of a gymnast.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: The man from Le Mans is fun to watch for his powerhouse athleticism and joie de vivre. As a heftier build, he’s prone to injury. Recently went gluten-free.
Gael Monfils: At 193 cm and a light 80 kg, the Frenchman is a magnetic and dramatic figure on court. He could just as likely have come off an athletics track – or the hire-wire at a circus.
Jerzy Janowicz: The 203 cm ‘Jerzy Boy’ has shaken up the game with his imposing height and reach, power serve and rippling abs. The incredible hulk of tennis.
Sam Stosur: Super defined shoulders and upper body, a strong core and the Aussie No.1 long ago shed the bulk from her once heavy legs.
Agnieszka Radwanska: Little wonder ESPN featured a nude Aga for its Body issue. Sinewy long muscles, super-lean build like that of a middle-distance runner, and flowing, economical movement. Enviable fast metabolism – she carbo-loads a mere half-hour before matches.
Ana Ivanovic: The model for tall, big-hitting women, at a statuesque and elegant 6 feet but never appearing heavy-footed. The former No.1 has height, reach and shot-making heft. If she fixed that awry ball-toss she’d be scary-perfect.
Li Na: The 31-year-old Chinese star has a honed, attractive tennis physique – speedy, springy and strong without being bulky. It’s a bod many club players can aspire to – if they put in the work.
Sloane Stephens: Stylish, natural athlete who makes it look effortless. Fun to watch for her languid movement and easy power. The 20-year-old looks the part – that of a young tennis queen in waiting.
Readers, do you agree to the above? Do you think that any other players belong on this list? Comment below!