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Essential Tips for Touring Tennis Players

Updated: May 12

Travelling internationally to tennis tournaments requires a certain set of skills that are generally learnt through experience. Having travelled with tennis players to more than 40 different countries I thought it may be helpful to share with you some considerations when travelling – 

1: Paperwork - ensure all your paperwork is done well in advance. Receiving an invitation letter from the ITF/National Association will make attaining the relevant visa much easier. Research the country that you are visiting to become aware of any safety concerns, any vaccines you may need to take prior to departure or any cultural aspects that need to be adhered to. Always have duplicate copies of your passport, visa, hotel reservation, tournament fact sheet etc just in case immigration requests it.

2: Flights and Hotels - during the flight hydration is key. The recycled air on a plane will dehydrate you faster than normal. If you are on a long haul flight try and leave your seat and do some exercises to promote blood flow to your lower body. If possible I always prefer to arrive in the visiting country in the afternoon. This ensures that I will travel to the hotel in daylight and it gives me time to visit the venue (to see travel time from the hotel to the tennis centre), see if any shopping centres are close by. I always try and get the hotel to send one of their drivers to take me from the airport. Staying at the official hotel is always preferred as many tournaments will offer a drop off/pick up service from the official hotel to the venue. Air BNB can be a more cost effective option. 

3: Practice sessions – if possible, before leaving your home country, ensure that you have organised a practice partner, court booking and tennis balls for your first practice session. Your first practice session is generally the morning after arrival. Always practice with new balls during your first practice session as this will give you the best indication of the court speed. If you are planning on completing two practice sessions try and practice on different courts and practice at different times of the day. 2:00pm may see the weather be much hotter, courts will become faster and balls will bounce higher. 

4: After your first practice session - consider getting a restring based on court conditions. As a general rule the hotter the temperature the tighter you will string your racquet. Always check the notice boards at the tennis site. These boards will provide you with information such as transport schedule, practice court available, physio timings/phone number, order of play, draws etc. Take photos of all relevant information. Try and hit with different players for practice variety.

5: Nutrition – the cost of travelling internationally is expensive and as such it is important to have a budget. I am very pro-budget but please consider not trying to save money when it comes to nutrition. Eat well. Many players once they find a good restaurant will eat at the same restaurant for the entire event. This lessens the chance of food poisoning. Drink bottled water. Like any athlete eat for growth, repair and fuel not taste. 

6: Scouting opponents – one of the biggest challenges with overseas travel is that you have minimal information on many of the players in the draw. Make an effort to watch some of the players both in practice and match play. Keep it simple, are the left handed, single handed backhand, physically fast, aggressive, powerful hitter etc. More advanced scouting may include serve patterns, what do they do on break points, how are they winning their points, do they get anxious is pressure situations etc. 

7: Keep your fitness schedule happening – if you are doing your fitness daily during tournaments you will be seen as a serious contender. When travelling I would suggest that players have two fitness plans. If you are still in the tournament you may have a lighter program which includes band work, footwork patterns, skipping etc. Should you be out of the tournament and have another tournament next week depending on which round you lost in will determine how challenging your fitness program will be. Recovery sessions are essential. Foam rolling, trigger point therapy, stretching, pool therapy, massages are all important to enhance your performance.

8: Enlarge your tennis network – talk to people. Players, coaches and tournament staff are all important people to network with. Players you meet may turn out to be good future practice partners, good doubles partners and maybe even room partners. If you make yourself known to coaches they may invite you to train with them, travel with them etc. 

9: On to the next event – if your next event is at the same venue as your first event, after the tournament, consider taking a day to visit some tourist att

ractions or go to a mall. You may not visit this country again and taking in some of the countries highlights will surely make your trip more memorable. Try and share a cab to the airport to reduce transport costs. Make sure to keep all your receipts (hotel, transport, restrings etc). Always make the effort to thank all people involved in the running of the event before leaving. A kind word leaves a lasting impression. 

written by- Todd Clark

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