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Daniel Nestor: Keeping Up With The Times

Nestor© Getty ImagesDaniel Nestor has developed his training to keep up with the changing demands of the modern game.

Daniel Nestor turned pro back in 1991 and is still going strong at the age of 41. The Canadian is well versed in what it takes to get his body match ready every week on the ATP World Tour and will this season re-unite with former partner Nenad Zimonjic.

During his illustrious career, Nestor has won 82 tour-level doubles titles, including eight Grand Slam championships, and reached the 900 doubles wins milestone last season. His most recent triumph came at last week's Brisbane International alongside Mariusz Fyrstenberg

Nestor sat down with ATPWorldTour.com in Brisbane to talk about how he has kept up with the changes in tennis over the past 20 years and how best to perform well in testing conditions in Australia.

What are the keys to keep your body match-ready after playing so many years?
As you get older, you know your body better. I’m spending more time in the gym and trying to stay strong. It’s less about tennis and more about maintaining your body strength and getting the proper regeneration.

Is there anything you know now on tour, that you wish you’d known when you first started out?
I don’t know about knowing, but wish I’d paid more attention to the physical aspect of things. When I was younger, I tried to play singles. I served well and had an aggressive game style, but had no Plan B. If I was in better shape, I could have played from the baseline and stayed in the rally. 

When do you feel that you brought that aspect into your training?
I think that the game changed when they started slowing down the courts and balls. The game became so much more physical. To stay at the top, you had to stay with the game. Guys were getting bigger and stronger, so it’s just a matter of trying to keep up with them.

Do you believe you can keep playing to reach 1000 tour-level doubles wins?
I don’t know (laughter). We’ll see. I’ve been pretty fortunate with injuries since I stopped playing singles. A lot depends on this year. If I have a better season than last year, I’ll keep playing. If it’s similar, there will be thoughts of stopping, for sure.

Can you talk us through your pre-match preparations and post-match recovery?
Pre-match is a typical warm up and a stretch. I don’t eat much before matches. Afterwards, especially in hot conditions, I’ll do an ice bath and get a massage. A good meal and relaxation helps, too.

How has your training different now to 10-15 years ago?
I spend more time in the gym and run more. Basically, do whatever it takes to be more physical. Ten to 15 years ago, the game was faster and it was more about creativity and shot-making. Now, it’s more about stamina and being stronger. Guys return your serve a lot easier, so you have to be ready to spend more time on the court. You have to use your time wisely.

How does training for doubles differ from singles?
Doubles has shorter points and has more reflexes. It’s less about endurance and more about start and stop. It involves quick, explosive moments. So with doubles, you focus more on quick power stuff and interval training.

There’s been a lot of developments in sports science. Have you bought into dietary changes or different routines?
I’ve actually associated myself with a health food company back in Canada. I’m using their products. They are named Quantam Health Food. It’s not something I’ve always believed in but now it’s so competitive and everyone’s trying to gain that extra edge. 

What are the keys to being prepared to play in heat like the Australian summer?
The electrolytes and powders are critical before and during the match. Focusing on eating the right foods, that aren’t heavy, and avoiding diary is needed in this weather.

Which ATP World Tour player is..?

Most flexible? Max Mirnyi
Has the best footwork? Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal
Has the best balance? Novak Djokovic
Has the best endurance? Rafael Nadal
Is the quickest? Jo-Wilfried Tsonga


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