So what is this term “off season” we keep hearing? The off season is a concept which means after a long season of about 7 months, you get 5 months off to train and recover. This is great for sports like American football, baseball, basketball and hockey and allows the athletes much needed time off. Of these 5 months, you take about a month and a half of complete time off, train for about 2 months to get bigger, faster, stronger and better, and then slowly ease back into match mode before the start of the main season with some pre season games etc.

How about tennis though? For us tennis pro’s, the off season is a brutal yet precious time. It’s the time reality hits you square between the eyes and drives you to answer questions you didn’t want to get asked. Most professional athletes have big egos and obviously don’t necessarily enjoy being critiqued. Why did I suck at those matches? Why do I keep making those same mistakes? What exactly do I need to do to make all of my game better? What do I want to accomplish this coming year? The basic answer for everything is almost always the same. Smart, hard work. The toughest part of it all is that our off season unlike most other sports is about 25 days. Yes. 25 days. Try getting bigger in the gym, faster on the track and better on the tennis court all at the same time in 25 days and tell me how you feel after that! That’s pretty much what off season is !! So after a super relaxing 4 days off for Thanksgiving this November, we decided to start this year’s off season training. Those 4 days might not seem like a lot, but I really think that its necessary after 30+ weeks on tour. The theme of the training is simple all through. Get better. The process, although simple in theory, not so simple.

The first 3 days, we ease into it and then bam! Time to start flying, time to set new records, time to puke a lot and time to be so tired that you fall asleep while watching TV at night. The toughest part of the day is definitely waking up sore as hell knowing that the rest of the day is going to be tougher than the day before. And the best part of the day is when you run that last sprint knowing that you put in a great effort and your day is done!! It’s way easier said than done for sure, but once you get into the rhythm of it, all of this is actually fun because you get to see the improvements you make so clearly!

The ATP has just decided that the season in 2012 will be two weeks shorter which gives us additional off time. I’m looking forward to it. This is definitely something that will benefit pretty much all the players in the long term.

If you want to have a quick story about why I think we need a longer off season, here it is. I’ve been playing pro for about two and a half years and since I turned pro, I have not spent over 4 weeks in the same place at one time. And most times it’s no more than a week to ten days in one place. But it gets better. A really good friend of mine has the exact same statistics but he’s been on tour for 10 years!!! Imagine that!!

I’ll leave you guys at that. Since this is my first blog, I’d like to thank everyone for their support and hope you guys continue our interaction on my website.

Merry Christmas everyone, and a Happy New Year!!