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Slimmer, Faster, Stronger Baghdatis Ready For 2011

Limassol, Cyprus

Baghdatis© Marcos BaghdatisMarcos Baghdatis works out on the beach in Limassol under the watchful eye of his physical trainer, Andreas Nicolaou.

Tennis fans will see a slimmer, faster and stronger Marcos Baghdatis in the first weeks of the 2011 ATP World Tour season in Brisbane and Sydney after the Cypriot’s commitment to his intensive off-season training schedule and nutrition plan has reaped plentiful rewards.

Indeed, fans will be able to see first-hand some of the hard work Baghdatis applied in a Tennis Channel feature about the Cypriot, due to air early in the New Year.

Unable to play his last two scheduled tournaments of the season in Basel and Paris due to a shoulder injury, the 25-year-old Cypriot took 10 days off before the hard work began in earnest on 14th November with his physical trainer Andreas Nicolaou, coach Guillaume Peyre, and physio Diego Martos.

Compeed

After a series of fitness tests were conducted to evaluate Baghdatis’ condition, a training and nutrition programme was drawn up to target improving his aerobic capacity, speed and weight management.

With Baghdatis still recovering from his shoulder injury, the first week of the block was used for adaptation and saw the Limassol native swimming, biking, jogging, stretching, and doing exercises for injury prevention.

The following two weeks focussed on Baghdatis’ endurance training and core, involving mountain biking at high altitude in the Troodos mountains for six two-hour sessions and doing strengthening exercises for his body to be more compact and to absorb impact, thus avoiding injuries. The next two weeks then saw Baghdatis working on his power, speed, agility and footwork before gradually spending more time on the tennis court.

“Everything was different,” explained Baghdatis. “Some days we woke up very early, around 7 o’clock, took the bikes and we went up to the Troodos mountains. When we came down, we worked two hours in the gym in the afternoon doing a bit of everything – core, abdominal, muscle training and power.

“The next day we would wake up, go to the gym and work on the power, work on the treadmill a little bit, then in the afternoon we would go to play a bit of tennis, come back and go again to the gym or play soccer. It was different kinds of training so I wouldn’t get bored mentally; for me it was fun.”

BaghdatisAfter just a few weeks the results were beginning to show. “I feel stronger on the court, I feel faster and slowly, slowly I will get better and better.  I think I have improved in all departments,” declared Baghdatis. Ahead of his final tests this week, Nicolaou reported that already, “He was running 10 metres in 1.7 seconds, now he can do it 1.6 seconds. So he has increased his speed. He used to struggle with 100 kg on the bench press; we can now increase it to 130 kg, which is good progress.”

Nicolaou also revealed the principle target for the off season had been to stabalise Baghdatis’ weight management through a nutritional programme that regulated the Cypriot’s portion control. “We’ve changed a lot of things in Marcos’ diet. He now eats five meals a day, but with small portions. He drank lots of water, avoided the fatty acids and foods that have a lot of fat like, lamb or veal. He doesn’t eat pizzas or burgers or fried things. Everything is steamed or grilled and the portions are the correct portions.”

Again, the results have come quickly for Baghdatis, despite Nicolaou admitting the new regime had driven his charge “crazy” at times. “He was 86 kg, 14.8 per cent body fat. Now he’s 82.3 kg and 10 per cent body fat, which is a really good number. The main thing is to be stable and stay on that number of 10 per cent body fat. The development plan is to decrease the fat and increase the muscle mass, so Marcos will be more powerful and more agile and quicker.”

A concerted effort by Mardy Fish to improve his fitness and weight management paid dividends last year, with the American enjoying a superb summer, including titles at Newport and Atlanta and reaching the finals at Cincinnati and The Queen’s Club. Baghdatis will certainly hope the same rings true for him as he bids to mount a serious charge in the testing conditions at the upcoming Australian Open, where he broke through to reach the final in 2006.

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