Stosur, Woodbridge adjusting to life at home
Having rarely spent extended periods at home since their teenage years, Sam Stosur and Todd Woodbridge give us a glimpse into how they’re adapting to their new day-to-day lives.
Professional tennis’ suspension in response to the global coronavirus outbreak has forced players to adapt to a new, unfamiliar reality.
They are no longer on the go.
With a calendar spanning almost 11 months and perhaps the largest global footprint of any sport, players’ lives are frequently lived out in airports and hotels – and travelling between those.
Even Todd Woodbridge, who retired in 2005, has maintained his hectic travel schedule thanks to media, commentary, promotional and coaching work.
In 2019 he averaged at least one flight per week.
But no longer.
“I think it will be the longest I’ve ever been in one place since I think I would venture back to 12 or 13 years of age. So it’s quite extraordinary to think about that,” said Woodbridge, who began competing on the ATP Tour in 1988 after a successful junior career.
“It’s a weird one for me – I’ve actually been forced to relax. And forced to look at things a little differently.
“For a short period of time at least, it’s actually be nice to have that continuity of being at home – I didn’t realise what that continuity felt like.”
Sam Stosur had experienced that continuity once before, but for a very different reason.
In the second half of 2017 she was forced to spend several months at home after fracturing her right hand during the French Open, the longest period she had spent in Australia since she was 15.
Stosur “did not enjoy that whatsoever” – a time during which she had to withdraw from Wimbledon and the US Open – but said she was feeling far more positive about this current extended stay at home.
“I’m actually loving it at the moment,” she told tennis.com.au, adding that she would use this time to properly unpack after moving house in December, and spend more time in her garden.
“Kind of feels weird to say that, because of the reason. But so far there’s been enough to do and I haven’t been bored for one second.
“I’ve got no routine at the moment. It’s absolutely shot. I’m kind of taking it day by day,” she laughed. “(And) just going with it because I’m like, well, ‘when am I ever like this?’ If I want to get up at 9am, or go to bed at 1am, I do it. I’m on European time; I eat dinner at like 9pm now, and it’s just ridiculous.
“It also makes for very little productivity, as well. There have been some days where it gets to 3pm and I’m like, ‘I haven’t really done anything today. I don’t really know what I’ve done. But it’s 3 o’clock’. And then I’m like, ‘oh, I’ve got to do my workout before dinner!’
“I quickly make sure I get myself organised for that. When I’ve been working out, I’ve been switched on … I keep my structure with that.
“But there’s no structure with anything else I’m doing at the moment. But it’s kind of fun, and nice.”
Disrupting that structure is the fact that she cannot practice as normal.
With her training base at Melbourne Park’s National Tennis Centre closed, and restrictions in place on the types of activities allowed outside the home and with how many people, Stosur is currently hitting a few times a week simply to “keep some oil in the joints”.
“If I don’t serve for two months, that’s going to be absolutely horrendous (for my body) when I do start again,” she explained.
“So it’s just about feeling the ball, keeping a bit of rhythm and just doing things physically on the court that you cannot replicate going for a run, or the gym.
“There’s going to be other ways to work on things; I’m going to still work with my sports psychologist and try and, who knows, explore different areas in that way, maybe do more visualisation. When you are doing all your practice and training and everything else, those things go by the wayside, whereas maybe now you’ve got to flip it and that becomes the priority.”
Woodbridge said that one thing he never did when at home was put his suitcase away, because he would always need it again not long afterward.
“Routine for me was to be on the go,” he said.
“My suitcase is always sitting in a bedroom or around the corner, ready to just put stuff in. (But now) I’ve actually put it away and thought, OK, I may as well tidy up the house a bit more.”
Tidying and cleaning is something Stosur is also having to familiarise herself with.
“I was cleaning the bathroom and the shower on the weekend, and I actually did think when I was doing that: I haven’t had to wash that many showers in my life because I’ve never been home long enough,” she laughed.
“I was like, I’m going to have to really like get stuck into cleaning now because I’m not going away, and I’m not in a hotel room for it to be done. And that sounds terrible, but I was like, ‘geez, I’ve really got to pick up my game here!’
“Now we’ve got a big garden to take care of, and I was like, I’m going have to learn how to make things grow, and not kill them. Because I’ve always lived in apartments, I’ve never had to mow a lawn.
“There’s going to be many firsts in my life skills that I’m going to have to learn and appreciate (laughter). I’ve got so much to look forward to!”