Angelica Gavaldon Interviews: Victoria Azarenka
One of my favorite tournaments from the WTA tour is the Southern California Open held at La Costa Resort and Spa. I used to compete in it when it used to be called the Acura Classic and it is where at 14 years of age Raquel Giscafre, the former director of the tournament, gave me the opportunity to compete on the WTA tour for the first time. After winning a spot in the qualifying draw, she gave me the Wild Card into the main draw. I defeated a top 80 player in the first round and that is where my dream of becoming a professional tennis player began.
After retiring from the tour, I still go to watch the tournament every year. It is one of the player’s favorite tournaments and it draws the best players from around the world. This year I had the chance to meet and talk with Victoria Azarenka, who is former number one and currently the second best player in the world. Recently coming back from an injury that she sustained at Wimbledon, we sat down and talked about the importance of staying healthy and fit to be able to perform at the highest level. We also talked about what she does to have a more balanced life.
After being injured she spent a lot of time doing off court training to get back to competing as soon as possible. She is a role model to women as she expresses the importance of being healthy, fit and feeling good about herself.
How much do you train each day when you are preparing for a tournament?
I spend a lot of time training on the court but I spend even more time training off court. It is very important to do this so I can stay healthy and strong. I train around 5 to 6 hours a day. When I don’t have a tournament, I spend more time training off the court than on the court. It pretty much takes all of my day, and I don’t have free time except for maybe one or two hours before I go to sleep. I try to incorporate different physical activities to mix it up and make it fun.
What is your diet like?
My diet changes constantly because I travel so much. I really am hooked on smoothies and salads. I don’t eat meat. I eat a lot of vegetables and fruits. I always snack to keep my energy up, it is important to do this. I love nuts, trail mix and something healthy. I also eat energy bars and foods that are made out of fruit as opposed to grains. I don’t like junk food; I am not a fan of it!
Do you find yourself still watching your diet closely even after so many hours of training?
Definitely, I have to watch what I eat. My only guilty pleasure is ice cream; I love it and when I start there is no limit for me so I have to watch out. For me it is not about being skinny, it is so much more about being healthy and feeling good. It is important to know what makes you feel good so you have to put the right food in your body so you can perform well.
What do you do in your free time when you are in a tournament?
When I get time off during the tournament it is pretty boring because I still have to keep focused and to give myself enough time to recover and relax. I like to watch movies and just hang out with my team. I like to search the web and learn something useful and try to not be on Facebook all the time. I also try to read books, but that is more challenging for me because I fall asleep a lot while reading. I like the book about Gabrielle Reece Hamilton; she is a role model for me. Her book was amazing as to how real it was, and very direct.