We all have Australian Open fever and we’re so excited to be watching one of our own from the sidelines. Sally Peers, Australian professional tennis player and Studio PP client received a wild card to play in the Australian Open mixed doubles. We thought we would ask her a few questions about life as a rising tennis star.
What does a day in your life look like?
I start with a reformer Pilates session then I’m normally on court mid-morning for a practice hit, followed by a strength and conditioning gym session and or a Pilates session for recovery. I’m studying business management at the moment, so that takes up my time in the afternoons. Fuel wise I need to keep my energy levels up all day so I eat 3 main meals per day and graze outside of those meals.
When did you start playing tennis and why?
My mum is a tennis coach, so my brother and I started playing tennis from the moment we could walk. We use to play with a racquet and balloons in our back yard when we were small kids. Tennis is in our blood.
What’s your favourite surface to play on and do you have to prepare differently for different surfaces?
Clay is my favourite surface to play on. We are fortunate to have a clay court at home and that’s what I have always trained and played on. Different surfaces require different shoes with different grips and you have to adapt your footwork and movement when you switch from clay to grass.
Best ever experience or memory on court?
I have to say playing mixed doubles with my brother last week at the Australian Open. It was an amazing experience to play not only together but also in our home town with all our friends and family watching.
It was a fantastic match to watch, and you and your brother make a great team. Due to the previous game you had a 4-hour delay before getting on court, how do you prepare emotionally and physically for such a delay?
It’s really difficult when that happens, but you can’t change the situation and your opponents are in the same position, so you just have to (try) stay relaxed. I listen to music, I try to graze and eat correctly to keep up my energy, whilst also not trying to exert too much energy and most importantly make sure I keep my body warm and get in a good pre-match warm up.
What’s the biggest and most memorable match you have ever played?
When I played at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York (the main stadium of the US Open tennis tournament and the largest tennis-specific stadium in the world). I was playing Kim Clijsters and it was broadcast live on prime-time TV at 7pm.
How do you prepare to walk out into the stadium in a moment like that?
I was lucky enough to be able to go out and hit and prepare on the court earlier in the day and get used to the enormity of the stadium. Apart from trying not to s%*t my pants I really just tried to embrace and enjoy the moment. I was just so excited to be there – those are the moments we live to play for.
You’ve had your fair share of injuries. What’s your secret to returning to the court so strong and having a smooth recovery?
I have had my fair share of injuries – bursitis in my right shoulder, golfer’s elbow, rolled ankles, lower back strains, abdominal strain and hip impingement to name a few. I think with the recovery it’s really important to have good people around you who you trust (like my family, you (Steph) for Pilates and rehab at Studio PP and Damo my strength and conditioning coach, as well as physios and doctors you know and trust). You just have to understand and remind yourself that it’s all a part of the sport and being an athlete and just try to stay positive throughout the process.
What’s your racquet of choice?
Babolat Aero pro drive is my racket of choice to help me get the best out of my game.
Lastly I’ve heard as a pro tennis player you tend to have a few pairs of sneakers on the go at once, is this true?
The rumours are true – I have a few unopened and used, and about 12 to 15 pairs on the go currently.
Thank you to Sally for sharing her wisdom and giving us insight into her life as an athlete. Sally radiates positivity and is a picture of health with a heart of gold and an unfathomable determination to succeed at her sport. We are privileged to share her story and a small part of her journey and watch as she continues to rise and succeed as one of Australia’s young leading female tennis stars. Watch this space!