Arrived early on Sunday Morning after a pretty ordinary overnight flight from Mumbai. Flight was delayed by an hour and a half, so not a great start to the tour for me. I tried as much as I could to sleep but close to impossible for me with limited seating space for 5.5 hours (we flew across in a 737 – the same planes usually used for domestic flights). The hotel this week is great, nice gym and pool for recovery, and we aren’t too far from the stadium – although my taxi driver this morning said that we could take up to an hour to get there based on the traffic! Let’s hope we have escorts, obviously an hour in the car isn’t the best preparation for a Super Series match… We are also directly attached to a large mall with loads of good food options, so good quality nutrition should be easy this week too.
Most of the day consisted of recovery from the flight, which is normal for the travel day. Flights tend to increase the dehydration of athletes, which is exacerbated by drinking caffeinated drinks, alcohol (not in Saina’s case) and general poor nutrition. It’s very hard for an elite athlete to ensure proper nutrition when away from their home country, and unfortunately this starts with the travel period itself. Rehydrating adequately and getting back into a good nutrition routine is the most important aspect of post-travel recovery for athletes. Beyond that the period of immobility (lack of movement while on the plane/bus/taxi etc) also needs to be addressed. We do this with a good mobility and neuro dynamic routine that takes about 15 minutes and is really just a comfortable, low load, low irritation flow of movements addressing all potential problem areas, the nervous system and the mental fatigue side as well. Finally, sleep is a huge issue for any athlete traveling to competition. Crossing time zones further adds to this stress. Getting on top of any potential jet lag is imperative, as we know that crossing time zones is associated with decreased performance for up to 72 hours, so that aspect needs to be minimized as much as possible.
Monday morning see us on the practice court early, while the main courts have been booked for around 11pm – not ideal for anyone playing Tuesday morning… Hopefully tonight’s sleep goes well!