The pressure is on for women's tennis. Tickets for the US Open's women's singles final sold out faster than the men's for what's believed to be the first time ever this year, and with the sport in the spotlight, players are focused on their performance.
For Caroline Wozniacki, who entered the 2015 US Open as the fourth-ranked tennis player in the world, that means pasta, checking her pee (we're not kidding), and a temporary absence of pancakes. But that's only part of it—here's what it takes to get the A-lister centercourt ready.
Wozniacki starts her day off light: Breakfast is fruit, oatmeal, and orange juice. Hydration starts early too. From "first thing in the morning," she aims to drink about ten bottles of water per day to keep her body at peak performance and avoid cramping during a match. If she’s still hungry, Wozniacki downs a sweet smoothie or banana for a quick boost of energy (makes sense: bananas are a great source of electrolytes).
Wozniacki keeps chugging that H2O. And yes, she even checks her pee to make sure it’s a good color: the lighter, the better. But for a mid-match lift, when some might reach for a sports drink, she avoids overly sugary beverages that can lead to a crash later on. Instead, she opts for Fitline's “Basics” drink, a German supplement that keeps energy levels steady.
When she's training, Wozniacki usually has a lunch of either rice or pasta with some chicken and broccoli, although she varies veggies to avoid boredom. It's a prototypical well-balanced meal: Protein builds muscle, while carbs give fast energy and vegetables deliver vitamins.
If she’s got a big match, pasta is a definite—it absorbs easily and makes for energy without any bloating, Wozniacki says. Likewise, nutrient-heavy veggies like broccoli, spinach, and asparagus are non-negotiable. “I always say that it’s like putting fuel in a car. You can have the best car in the world, but if you don’t put the best fuel in it, it doesn’t go anywhere,” Wozniacki says. “When I practice and work for hours every day, it’s important that I have great things in my body as well.”
For thirty minutes after you stop exercising, your body repairs itself and absorbs nutrients best, so Wozniacki multitasks by drinking USANA's strawberry Nutrimeal while stretching. She says it goes down easier than something solid, as she finds it tough to eat straight after a long match. Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window? Aragon AA, Schoenfeld BJ. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2013, Jan.;10(1):1550-2783.
Once she’s cooled off, the star goes for (another) protein-loaded dinner of turkey, chicken, or steak with rice or potatoes (anything other than pasta at that point!).
Eating to Win
Star tennis players: They’re just like us. Even though Wozniacki's diet seems fairly strict, she does splurge now and then. Her favorite meal is pancakes in the morning, and for those days when she’s not playing a world tournament, a chocolate bar is her go-to.