Bethanie Mattek-Sands: Lady Gaga, Tennis Edition

"Tennis is so conservative. There's the gentleman's club. This and that. The stigma that tennis has. I don't really wear anything. I wear high socks. That's the only reason I get that much publicity for what I have worn. It's colorful stuff, but I've had a few people talk to me in the lockers like, 'Bethanie, you're getting boring!' It's for me. Some people hate it. Some people love it," Bethanie Mattek-Sands says.Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Tennis fans refer to her as the tennis world's Lady Gaga. "I kind of got deemed the nickname. A lot of the stuff I wear on court isn't that crazy in the entertainment world."

It's hard to believe but people might have never heard of Mattek-Sands. "I started playing tennis when I was 5. Right around that time when I had to move to Florida, when I was 12, I had to make the decision which sport I wanted to play. I had done really well in tennis as a junior," Mattek-Sands remembers, talking about how she might have wound up training for martial arts, gymnastics or basketball. Instead, she began at the Chris Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton and "here I am, still playing."

Maybe the choice was influenced by meeting her idols, one of whom she played with as a kid. "Growing up, I got the privilege to play with Monica Seles when I was 8 years old. She played super aggressive. She really hit as hard as she did. She autographed a racquet cover for me. My parents still have it in the house. Obviously, Steffi Graf was another one.."

When she is in Phoenix, every day is work. "I have a fitness trainer out in Phoenix. It's a surprise every day. I probably do things a lot differently than most players. I don't do any running, period. I don't jump rope. I do Iso Extreme. The gist of it is you get in a position, like say lunge, and you do it for a setup. You'll time yourself to hold each move for five minutes."


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