“Bring Your Opponent to the Fatigue Threshold”: Fitness Trainer Talks About Motivating Serena Williams to Play Her Best Tennis

Published 10/08/2021, 3:51 PM EDT
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 23: Serena Williams of the United States talks to the media at a press conference after losing her quarter final match against Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic during day 10 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 23, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)


Legendary American tennis player Serena Williams, who was forced to retire unfortunately at the Wimbledon Championships this year due to a foot injury mid-match, is yet to fix her comeback WTA tournament.

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After withdrawing midway from her Wimbledon first-round match, Serena Williams didn’t take part in any other tournament. Notably, she has been spending time at home with her daughter Olympia and husband. Recently, the American pulled out of the Indian Wells event, which made it almost certain that she would like to rest for the season and come back stronger next year.

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Hosts Chanda Rubin and Zira Garrison interviewed Mackie Shilstone for a podcast on Serena Williams

The 23-time grand slam champion is back home enjoying quality time with husband Alexis Ohanian and daughter, Olympia. Despite being away from tennis action, Serena Williams has been active on social media, sharing several fun updates from her life.

Over the past few months, former tennis players Chanda Rubin and Zina Garrison have been making a podcast on Serena Williams as they discuss the qualities that made her one of the greatest of all time in this sport.

The guests to feature in the podcast include the likes of Patrick Mouratoglou, Martina Navratilova, Andy Roddick, and Rennae Stubbs. In one of the recent episodes, Rubin and Garrison were joined by Serena’s fitness trainer, Mackie Shilstone.

Serena Williams in action during her first round ladies’ singles match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich on centre court on day two of Wimbledon at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. Picture date: Tuesday June 29, 2021. (Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images)

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Shilstone’s association with the legend goes way back to 2008 when they first began training. The American had to deal with health issues, and she took the help of Mackie to get back on the winning track.

In the podcast, Shilstone mentioned his process of working with Serena Williams over the years. A famous sports performance manager, Shilstone is well-known for training various legends in American sports over the years.

“You’ve got to survive to do that” – Shilstone on advice given to Serena

I saw in her this ability to rise above her weaknesses, her fatigue. Fatigue makes cowards of us all. And I told Serena, ‘Serena, we’ve got to bring your opponent to the fatigue threshold‘,” said Shilstone in the podcast.

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The expert fitness trainer continued, “You’ve got to survive to do that. And at that point, there’s only 10% margin. And that’s where you win. Because your mind is stronger. But both of you have to be at a broken point and then there will be one person to survive.”

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Over the years, Serena Williams has remained an example for upcoming talent on the WTA tour both in terms of technique as well as in following a fitness regime. The American is yet to announce her comeback tournament, and it’s safe to assume that it will most likely be the Australian Open next year.

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Sagar Ashtakoula

466 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Sagar has completed his graduation in Electronics and Communication Engineering.

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