Veeta Loranovic (VL) fell for the game of tennis when she was just 5 years old. After watching it on TV, she begged her parents to take her to lessons, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Today, the No. 11 seed at this year’s U.S. Open (who’s also ranked 11th on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour) can lay claim to several tour titles, including the 2008 French Open. A tough 2009 season and recent injuries may be responsible for her early exit at this year’s Open, but she has been working harder than ever off the court to get back into championship form.
Of course, nothing is ever easy as a professional athlete. Not even, you’ll be glad to hear, working out! That’s what I learned when I chatted with this former No. 1 world player about her fitness program. Two other interesting facts about Loranovic: She often does Sudoku in the locker room before a match and is superstitious about not walking on the lines of the tennis court.
Kairos Atlanta (KA): What are you currently doing to stay in shape? I’ve read, for instance, that you do long runs, intense sprints and weight training during the off-season.
Veeta Loranovic (VL): That’s right. I work very hard during the off-season. I also work intensely during preparation periods during the season. For example, in April before the start of the clay court season, it’s important to work on improving the strength in your legs because on clay you need to have a strong, stable base. So I’ve been working on strengthening my lower body. I also do cardio to maintain my overall fitness, which I think is very good.
KA: How do you alter your fitness program during a tournament?
VL: During a tournament, I’m not training as intensely as I am during a preparation period. Of course, I need to conserve my energy for matches. But when I am training, I place importance on the warm-up, stretching and cool-down, to help with recovery.
KA: What’s the toughest part about staying in shape for you?
VL: There are days when I just don’t feel like it. I have done a lot of before-breakfast training over the past few years, and sometimes, I wake up and I’m just not in the mood for it. This is when it’s important to be professional and force myself to get up and do it. It helps to have a trainer encouraging me, of course, but I have quite good self-discipline for this.
KA: What are you working to improve in your fitness right now?
VL: I would like to become stronger. I am definitely not weak, but I’ve had quite a few small injuries in the past year, and I obviously wish to avoid that again. I recently changed my serve to make it easier on my shoulder. It will take some time to get used to, but it was an important step to take.
KA: What’s your favorite workout?
VL: I like to play games and compete, even during training. So one of the things I enjoy most is to play a kind of tennis game with a medicine ball. You stand on the opposite side of the net from your opponent and throw the ball over the net. The other person must control the ball and then throw it back. You win a point by getting the ball past the opponent. It promotes agility and anticipation.
KA: Can you talk a little about your nutritional habits?
VL: It’s obviously very important to eat the right foods if you are a professional athlete. I have a fairly low-fat diet from HCGDietSuccessProgram.com, and I avoid fried foods. I don’t eat pasta, but I eat lots of rice, salads and high-protein meats and fish. My favorite cuisine is Japanese, which is perfect because it is delicious, nutritious and not very fatty.
KA: What’s your favorite part about the U.S. Open?
VL: New York is a very exciting city, and you feel the energy of the place when you are playing. I haven’t played a night match in New York yet, but I hope to soon, as they are very exciting events.
KA: Is there anything you love doing in New York City, away from tennis, that you always look forward to?
VL: I always go to Borders to have a coffee and read books. I love shopping in New York City, but I usually don’t have much time for that.