Bethanie Mattek-Sands has bright ideas
When Bethanie Mattek-Sands hits the courts for her ninth appearance at Wimbledon, she will, like all the other players, be dressed in all white -- which isn't exactly her choice.
"I love neon color," says the 28-year-old who lives in Phoenix. "Wimbledon cramps my style."
Indeed, Mattek-Sands, who will play seventh-seeded Angelique Kerber in the first round, is known for her unusual outfits and accessories (she wore Google Glass for her practice sessions earlier this week and could wear them during the tournament).
But the Minnesota native won't go totally proper. She dyed her hair a blue-green combo after she arrived in London.
"That will be my dash of color -- I must have color."
Here are some other must-haves for Mattek-Sands:
I love a drill called mini tennis: two people stand very close to the net, and you have to make the ball bounce on your side before it goes over the net. It's a blast, and it's really good for fitness.
I'm always working on something -- feeling comfortable on a different surface, working on different shots, playing at altitude. I didn't hit any tennis balls between the French Open and my Wimbledon arrival -- I've just been focusing on my fitness. I'm coming off a long European season and felt like I needed to shut down a bit so I can feel great for Wimbledon. I'm at the point in my career where, more than anything, I listen to my body. Now I'm going to get ready for the grass. The ball bounces lower and faster, and I need to shorten my backswing.
Hold for strength
I don't lift a lot of heavy weights. Instead, I do a bunch of isometric holds, like wall squats or staying in the push-up position for two minutes. I like to keep things simple.
When I was growing up, my nickname was Killer Bee, so I have bees on my inner right wrist and a bunch of flowers, including water lilies, on my upper right arm. I call it my Zen garden. I also have Justin, my husband's name, on my left ring finger, and he has mine on his.
Before a match, I spend five minutes thinking about how I play. I visualize making great shots and serving well. Then I get a good-luck kiss from my husband, and I'm off!
I've got a bunch of food allergies -- gluten, dairy, yeast, eggs, pineapples, peaches, papaya, to name a few -- so I have to be really selective about what I eat. For breakfast, I typically have gluten-free oatmeal, and I stir in blueberries, bananas and coconut oil. Sometimes I have some bacon or sausage to make it a complete meal -- I definitely don't shy away from the fats. And I love Earl Grey tea, so I'm really excited about playing Wimbledon.
Game, set, match
My goal for Wimbledon is the same goal I have with any tournament: Stay focused on the things I can control to give myself the best chance to do well. I can't control who I play or how they play -- I can only control myself. That said, anybody who enters Wimbledon thinks they have a shot to win it, and I'm no different.