Ana Ivanovic: Overtrained?

TENNIS-WTA-JPNAnother first-round-exit for Ana Ivanovic after a Grand Slam and this time around, it’s in 2009 Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. Ivanovic only won ten games to Lucie Sarafova, committed eleven double faults and only won a point during the tie-breaker in the second set 6-7.

What’s really wrong with Ana Ivanovic? It’s already clear her emotions are all over the place during a match and that alone affects her confidence and concentration.

A while ago, I was scanning the news in Sony Ericsson WTA site, I stumbled upon this article titled “Success Comes Slowly.” Sheilagh Anderson, a primary health care provider in UK, wrote this article and I find it very interesting and was thinking of the 2008 Roland Garros Champion as I was reading it in its entirety.

(I hope WTA will not mind if I will post some important portions here)

Overtraining or Burnout:

Overtraining Syndrome is a negative response to intense training. It is a very individual response to cumulative training overload that is not relieved by a couple of days of rest.

Burnout, as the literal meaning of the word suggests, indicates a state of being completely worn out, nothing left to give, emotionally exhausted. Burnout is like the “end of the line” of overtraining.

Are YOU a Player at Risk?

Ana with Craig Kardon
Ana with former coach, Craig Kardon

Players can be at risk of developing overtraining syndrome for a variety of reasons, including:

  1. The younger player is at risk, as he/she has not yet developed effective coping strategies.
  2. The externally driven player has everyone else setting her/his goals and driving her career. She/he probably has loads of talent and may have started out with a BANG. The athlete also experiences “Lack of control and being pushed by others can lead to de-motivation, injury and burnout.”
  3. The over motivated player drives her/himself hard and can be quite obsessive about her/his tennis/sport. In fact, she/he may have few other interests outside of tennis/sport. She/he will set her/his goals very high and put a lot of pressure on her/himself to achieve them. ***(Just by reading news and interviews, it made me realize Ana Ivanovic falls on this category)
  4. The player in a slump: Most players who experience a string of losses, respond by increasing their training load. They do more practice, go & hit some more after a match or add another tournament or cancel a planned week off.

Symptoms to Watch Out For: (For Treatment, I know it varies. Every tennis player needs a different technique for recovery. What works for Rafael Nadal, Fernando Verdasco or Kim Clijsters might not work for Ana Ivanovic. The only person who can effectively treat them is their coaches.)

Overtraining Syndrome


  • Chronic decrease in performance (a “slump”, streak of match losses)
  • This is often the FIRST sign
  • Reaction to chronic stress which often follows period of overtraining
  • Minor illnesses, like colds
  • Emotionally exhausted & drained
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Loss of sleep / insomnia
  • Not interested in social contact
  • Loss of appetite / weight loss
  • Decreased attention span & concentration
  • Higher than usual early morning resting heart rate (up to 10bpm more)
  • Lack of motivation & drive- don’t want to play anymore, contemplate giving it all away
  • Slower recovery of heart rate after exercise
  • Easily angered, feel depressed
  • Loss of speed, strength, agility
  • Poor performance on court
  • Muscle soreness
  • Physically breaking down with injuries & illnesses
  • Mood changes, feeling flat, angry, frustrated, overloaded, stale, no joy or fun in tennis or other activities

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