Stephens’ US Open Journal
“To be honest, there is no typical day in New York,” she confesses.
It all relies on the sequence of play, which is solely disclosed the evening prior. I believe that’s something that a laid-back sports enthusiast might not necessarily comprehend regarding tennis. Dissimilar to other professional sports, tennis athletes generally only acquaint themselves with their match timetable within 24 hours beforehand, so it’s truly crucial to be adaptable and capable of remaining composed and adjusting to commence and conclude your usual procedure promptly, depending on the climate or duration of the matches preceding yours.
If she has a match in the afternoon, for instance, the day might go something like this:
8am – Wake up, head down for hotel breakfast. I prefer to start the day with some scrambled eggs for protein and then some delicious french toast or pancakes.
9:30am – I’ll go downstairs and get into the tournament car with my team to travel from Manhattan to Queens. You never know what the traffic will be like, but I allocate about an hour for transportation. If it’s a match day, I usually discuss the strategy with my coach the night before, so on the morning of the match I tend to remain quite and listen to music.
10:30am – Once we arrive on-site, I’ll go with my coach and physio to the gym to warm up — we’ll do some light cardio as well as some footwork and band work, and possibly some massage or muscle activation to prepare for the match.
11am – We’ll go to the practice court and have a 20-30 minute warmup going through the important things that need to be done – serves, volleys, and any patterns or strategies that will be beneficial for the specific match. The warmup is intended to start breaking a sweat and get in the right mindset for the match.
11:30am – I’ll return to the locker room to shower, change into my match outfit, and have something to eat from the player cafeteria – usually some pasta and a piece of chicken. During this downtime, my coach will closely monitor the progress of the matches preceding mine and determine when I should warm up for the match. If we have a lot of downtime, I usually will take a short nap or rest on the couch.1pm – Match time2:30pm – After the match, I’ll go to the gym to cool down and discuss the match with my coach. Depending on the timing of my press conference and other media commitments, I’ll either get a massage from my physio before or after.4pm – Once my commitments are finished, we’ll return to the city.7pm – After dropping my bags back at the hotel and having some downtime to video call my family and catch up on work emails, we will walk down 5th Ave to Koreatown for dinner. I always go to the same spot and walk in with a purpose. No need to give me a menu, I know exactly what we’re ordering!8pm – I’ll grab a boba [tea] on my walk back up to The Langham, and call it a night. I’ll relax with some Netflix and online shopping. Typically, you have one day off between matches at a Grand Slam, so tomorrow would probably be a practice day.
Courtesy of Sloane Stephens
Consistency, Hydration and Recovery Are Essential
In addition to consistently listening to her body, Stephens attempts to maintain a similar training and rest schedule, regardless of the location or varying conditions in which she is playing. “To the best of my ability, I try to keep my routine fairly consistent in every place and this helps me adapt quicker to new time zones, temperatures, altitudes, and so on,” she says. “Some things are, of course, beyond my control, but I try to stay grounded in my routines and daily habits to make the transitions as comfortable as possible.
To the utmost of my ability, I strive to maintain a consistent routine in every location… I endeavor to stay rooted in my routines and daily practices to ensure the transitions are as comfortable as possible.
Every aspect of that routine holds importance, particularly engaging in the sport at such a high level. However, if I had to choose the most crucial element, what would it be? “Hydration! It’s the cornerstone of everything in life – skincare, recuperation, and overall well-being,” declares Stephens. “It’s incredibly simple yet has the greatest impact on my daily life. Amidst numerous variables and changes each week in a different city, airplane, and hotel room, I can rely on myself to consistently hydrate and support my body to function optimally.”
Stephens also places great emphasis on her own recovery, a shared focus with her husband, who is also a professional athlete. “Jozy and I bond over recuperation routines because our time to unwind and enjoy each other’s presence is when we’re at home,” she explains. “He’s the gadget guy and I’m the product aficionado. He possesses all the equipment – from hyperbaric chambers to red light therapy and Normatec boots. I, on the other hand, share with him all my self-care products – eye masks, face masks, ice rollers, and more. Together, we make a well-rounded recovery team.”
Game, Set, Match: Stephens’ Essential Must-Haves
Preferred form of movement or exercise that is *not* related to training or tennis: Walking
Go-to pre and post-match sustenance: Prior to the match, I typically have some pasta with a lean protein such as a chicken breast or a piece of fish. For a post-match snack, I opt for a Lemon Perfect and Quantum square.
Favorite type of sports bra or workout attire: FP Movement
Indispensable skincare item: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer SPF 70 Sunscreen Mist
Preferred hair product: It entirely depends on how I’m styling my hair. When I’m on extended trips, I gravitate towards protective styles like braids or the locs I currently have.
Beloved makeup product: Fenty lip gloss
Preferred product from a drugstore: IcyHot PRO Patches
Product worth splurging on: La Mer Renewal Oil
Favorite confectionary indulgence: Boba. I usually opt for a peach black tea with boba.
Favorite savory treat: Any and all Asian cuisine. Korean BBQ and kimchi stew, sushi, hibachi, Thai, pho – you name it.
Signature fragrance: Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 Eau de Parfum
Favorite television series: I adore all of Shonda Rhimes’ shows – Bridgerton, Queen Charlotte, everything she touches.
Song you’ve been playing on repeat: Apple Music Live: Burna Boy
Thanks for your input!