Random Thoughts from the SAP Open

The past week I had an opportunity to check out Pete Sampras and Fernando Verdasco play an exhibition to open up the tournament. I was also fortunate to receive box seats to attend the final with Andy Roddick and Verdasco.

Here’s a few things I noticed during my time there:

Firstly, Pete’s  exhibition against Verdasco confirmed that training the right way and putting the time in can be an equalizer. Pete put up a good fight against Verdasco in the second set. He lost 6-3  7-6 , but can still crack his serve and the base of his game is still there. However, it was clear that the biggest difference between the two players was Verdasco’s superior conditioning.  Pete was slower, his footwork wasn’t sharp and his conditioning was suspect. It would have been interesting to see what could have happened had Pete trained harder. I think the match would have gone 3 sets and he might have pulled it out.

The final with Roddick and Verdasco showed how important fitness and training is in today’s game. Tennis pros are so skilled that the playing field has leveled. However, the difference between most pros and the guy’s in the top 10 is their training regimen. Both Roddick and Verdasco are well-built athletes.  They crush the ball off their ground strokes and their movement is explosive. They both have huge serves, although a lot of their power is generated due to impeccable timing; having strength in the lower body to transfer force through the shoulder is necessary to serve big.

Since Verdasco has started working with Gil Reyes he has climbed into the top ten and is a legitimate threat to win a grand slam. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Verdasco’s talent combined with his training protocols have catapulted him as a contender. What is more interesting is that Gil uses training tools that are considered different and extreme in tennis circles and you can’t argue with the results.

At Zenith Strength we work with many top tennis juniors and use protocols that aren’t new but are on the cutting edge for the sport. Implements such as sled drags, prowler sprints, kettlebells, band work, and traditional lifts such as squatting and dead-lifting to improve speed, explosiveness and strength. Hopefully there will be a new trend in tennis training. One that involves movements that have been neglected and avoided for too long.

It’s a matter of time before Verdasco wins a Grand Slam barring any serious injuries and people will start to take notice and change their training regimens.

You either join the pack or get left behind and dusted by faster, stronger, and mentally tougher athletes.

In Strength,



One Response to “Random Thoughts from the SAP Open”

  1. kyle louderback Says:

    Hey man, everything looks real good.

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