Food for thought
Originally published on 18/09/16 00:00
I normally travel with a large 20kg bag of equipment and nutritional supplies. I take a blender and a sandwich press as well as protein powder, snacks, gels and hydration products. The food on offer isn’t always what our players want to be eating pre-match so we try to be as self-sufficient as possible.
When I get to a venue it’s crucial for me to develop a relationship with the hotel chef so we can get the best food for the team. The language barrier was a little bit difficult in Serbia [for GB's quarter-final win in Belgrade], but thankfully the chef spoke English. I like to get in the kitchen and work alongside the chef. I try to use some of the hotel’s favourite dishes as well as the food that we know that the players prefer to eat.
When we arrived in Belgrade it was 45°C on court and about 11% humidity but they ended up playing in 17°C and light drizzle so it was more about getting enough energy in the players to sustain them rather than fluids and hydration being the major focus.
It is my job to raise the probability that they can play to their peak regardless of the conditions. If we do our jobs right then they go our on court confident, knowing their bodies are ready, knowing they’ve got everything in the tank and have confidence in their gear, their tactics and their nutrition.
One of the things I’ve noticed about Davis Cup is that it is so physically and emotionally draining. The physios, the doctor and myself just keep working to keep everyone on an even keel and keep the energy levels high.
We work as a team and Leon’s philosophy is to take one point, one rubber, one Davis Cup tie at a time. Everyone loves being part of the team. The fact that Andy [Murray] took time away from his family to travel to Belgrade just shows what this team means to him. It was hugely inspirational and he’s a tactical genius on and off the court. We were so lucky to have him there.
The support at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow is unreal – it’s so noisy from the very first point. That fortress mentality is real. Nothing is a given but these home crowd advantages have got to be worth a few points at least.