For Zvonareva, a Tropical Storm Is No Obstacle

Vera Zvonareva, the No. 2 seed in the women’s draw at the United States Open, will be talking with Straight Sets about her experiences throughout the tournament. On Sunday, Zvonareva, who is 26 and was born in Moscow, spoke about what she does to prepare to play; she will face Stephanie Foretz Gacon on Monday at Louis Armstrong Stadium.

In the off-season, you train much more. During the season, when you play a lot of matches, you have to stay in shape but you can’t do too much because you want to be fresh for your tournament. This is not the time to do hard work but to use your time to prepare yourself.

It was a bit of an unusual weekend — they closed the tennis center at 5 p.m. Saturday and it was closed Sunday. Usually I would go play some tennis but on Sunday we couldn’t. We just decided to go to the gym and do my regular warm-up routine. There are some regular exercises I have to do. We did some footwork and some movements with the racket — swings without the ball — and stretching, of course. I stretch a lot. I would say 20 minutes after each workout is part of my routine. I do general stretching mostly for the whole body, and my lower body, my left hamstring, thighs, upper body.

There are injuries I also have to manage: just general management like a little problem with my back, sometimes with my shoulders, sometimes with my hip.

It took about two hours Sunday. We didn’t push too hard.

I try to follow a healthy diet. I am avoiding fried food, fast food at all times. I like fish a lot, and chicken. You want to make sure you get enough carbohydrates and also protein. I try not to eat too much pasta; I prefer rice.

I like to sleep a lot and I need a lot of sleep. Seven, eight hours is not enough — a minimum of 9 or 10 hours is better.

I don’t spend too much time watching videos of other players. I remember my matches in the past and I am aware of how each player plays.

I don’t do something special before my matches but I do always have my iPod on — energetic music, something fast. Rihanna is on my playlist, Linkin Park, Nickelback, Bruno Mars, some Russian artists like Agatha Christie.

I have to be at the tennis center Monday morning at 9:30, and I booked a court to warm up. After I warm up, I take a shower, I put my clothes on, I can even fall asleep. I can just wake up in one second, and I do some footwork drills and I’m ready to go.