The off-season

The off-season

Just a week to go to the new season – it seems crazy to write that! The off-season has gone by so fast. It seems like just a couple of weeks ago we were in Prague for the Fed Cup final.

I did my main tennis training in Dubai. Each time I visit I am amazed by how the place has changed. Dubai is a popular place for players to train before the Australian Open, because the extreme heat prepares you well for what we will experience in Melbourne.

I had a big team with me there: my coach, hitting partner, fitness trainer and physio were all in Dubai for a fortnight. It was a successful training camp – I played some good tennis and was especially happy with my serve and my movement.

The off-season is important because it kind of sets you up for the season ahead: it gives you a base to fall back on. The most successful years of my career followed good preparation periods, and I feel I’ve done everything I could do prepare myself properly for 2013.

Away from the court we had fun too. I visited some great restaurants, such as Nobu and Toro Toro, and one night we all cooked together: I did salmon and tuna fillets, while others in the team took care of other components. Joe, my hitting partner, was the master of salads!

This is actually the latest I’ve arrived in Australia in a long, long time, as I usually do my preparation here. I think it’s important to change things from time to time, and playing six matches at the Hopman Cup (including doubles) means that I can have a good, focused week of practice in Melbourne before the Aussie Open, rather than playing Sydney like I usually do.

The Hopman Cup is for sure one of the most fun events in tennis and I’m delighted to be back in Perth. To say that they treat us well here is an understatement. But it’s not just the players – they even serve lobster and champagne in the player box!! They really spoil us.