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Matt Ebden: Speed And Endurance

Ebden© Matt EbdenEbden hired Peter McNamara in December and has focused on building up his endurance.

For Matthew Ebden, the 2012 ATP World Tour season was a rollercoaster.

Ebden reached a career-high No. 61 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, posted his first Top 10 victory over Mardy Fish and married his long-time girlfriend. But he also dropped out of the Top 100 and went 2-4 at the Grand Slam events, signaling a need for change.

The Australian hired countryman Peter McNamara in the off-season in hopes of replicating the success he’s found during Davis Cup training stints. McNamara broke into the Top 10 in both singles and doubles during his career, winning a combined 24 tour-level titles.

As part of Compeed’s Form & Fitness series, the Perth resident reflects on 2012, his initial impressions of McNamara, a desire to increase his endurance levels and more…


How would you assess the way your body held up in your first full year on the ATP World Tour?
It was definitely a bit more challenging. Playing at the top level, you have to be 100 per cent physically fit every time you walk out on the court, even for practice, or you are going to be in trouble. The level out there is deep. Everyone is putting in a lot of training, a lot of physical work into their bodies. To stay physically and mentally fit for 35 to 40 weeks of the year is challenging.

How do you work on building up your endurance?
We did a lot of running, some interval training and bike time trials in the off-season. We also did a lot of on-court fitness conditioning. All of it was done in the heat, which helps.

This past November, you tied the knot with your girlfriend Kim. What impact does having a strong support system have on your mentality, knowing there is someone to go through every up and down with you?
It’s incredible. We had a lot of fun. She plays a massive support role and to have someone always there takes a lot of pressure off in other areas and really allows me to be free and focused in what I’m trying to do. It allows me to work long hours every day. It’s amazing to have her help and support.

You announced Australian Peter McNamara as your new coach in December. What do you hope he will bring to your game and what are your initial impressions of his coaching style?
Through this past year, I was looking for someone to help push me, to work hard. With the Davis Cup guys, I always find that I come out of those weeks playing really well. Tony Roche and Patrick Rafter always push us hard, so I wanted someone who could bring that to me personally through a lot more weeks during the season.

Peter has a lot of great experience. He’s very disciplined and hard working, and is a good man in all aspects. We’ve had a lot of fun and we’re just trying to work as hard as we can and improve just like everyone else. 

What do you need to improve in 2013 to achieve more consistent results? Was there anything you worked on this off-season to address this?
There were a few things with my physical trainer Aaron. We set out a few goals, specifically like you talked about with endurance. I’m fortunate to be one of the faster guys out there, which is a good asset I have. But to be able to use that for four to five hours in a row is the real test. I’ve been building my endurance so I can get the most out of myself for long periods of time.

Then, everything needs to improve by five to 10 percent. All little things here and there are important. You need to constantly work to improve.

As a recreational surfer, how can you translate your love for catching waves into a benefit to your tennis training?
Ha! Not really. It’s more something I like to call a green zone. I get out there to relax, take my mind off everything else and just enjoy the nature, the fresh water and catching a wave if I do. I honestly don’t get to surf much these days at all.

Have you encountered a shark before?
I never have. That has deterred me from surfing too much. Last February at the Davis Cup, the whole team went surfing. Pat took us and he surfs a lot. 

What is an exercise or stretch you’d recommend a recreational player add into their training program?
The biggest benefit they can get is their core strength. It’s pretty important for balance and strength, whether it’s the serve, forehand and movement.

Which player on tour do you think…
Is the most flexible?
Novak Djokovic
Has the best footwork? Roger Federer
Has the best balance? Novak Djokovic
Is the quickest? Gael Monfils
Has the greatest muscular endurance? Rafael Nadal
Has the strongest core? Novak Djokovic, again. His balance comes a lot from his core. 

- COMPEED is an official supplier of the ATP.

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