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Locker Room: Bethanie Mattek-Sands

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Originally published on 25/09/15

What makes you smile?
Shopping, dark chocolate, my husband. In that order! Justin travels with me all the time, we’re together 24-7. He’s my best friend. At this stage in my career it’s nice to have my husband with me otherwise at the end of the year it’d be like, ‘OK, see you in a few months.’ It’s not the ideal marriage, I know some girls can make it work, but I’m lucky to have him travelling with me.

What’s the best practical joke you’ve played on someone?
In the off-season I jammed my ankle a little bit and went to my doctor to get a shot. I hate needles so he numbed it up pretty good and he texted me later to see how my ankle was. I Googled a picture of a frostbitten foot, totally disgusting with black nails and sent it to the doctor. He didn’t talk to me for ages after that.

What did you do with your first prize cheque?
After my first big payday I went to Prada at the US Open and bought two pairs of Prada sneakers. I still have them, my mom and my sister wear them. That was my first big splurge.

Do you cook?
I bake. My signature dish is sweet potato pie. I’m pretty good with cookies and breads; I love making banana bread. I made a whisky pear crunch over Thanksgiving. I like cooking desserts. My husband does the meats and I do all the baked goods.

Not a typical diet for an athlete…
I don’t cook them a lot and when I do, I pick the ones I really want to eat. Justin always complains because when you bake stuff you bake a whole cake and there’s just two of us and he ends up eating most of it. That’s probably why I’m small and he’s big. He’s taking one for the team by eating the whole pie.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Pizza. I have a lot of food allergies and basically they are all in a pizza. We schedule my cheat days in the off-season. I'll have a pizza on a Saturday afternoon after practice and we research it properly; who has the best sauce, best toppings. I only get one chance so you have to go for it. I'm more of a crusts person than sauces so that's what I look for.

What toppings?
A little rocket and prosciutto and tons of cheese. Cheese is my favourite.

Besides your tennis gear, what would you never travel without?
I actually travel with a bed topper. I roll it up and whenever I get to a place I can put it on top of the bed because there have been so many times where the beds are uncomfortable, if they’re too hard you wake up really stiff. This roll-up foam bed topper has been the best investment of my travelling career. It takes up almost a whole suitcase but it’s worth it. I’ve taken stuff out to be able to fit that in a bag.

This article originally appeared in tennishead Volume 6 Issue 4 . For more great features, stunning imagery and interviews with the world's top players, subscribe to the magazine today or download the latest digital magazine, available on Apple and Android devices.

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