Down Time: Players Enjoy Vacations

by: | June 12, 2009

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Caroline Wozniacki , ... ]

The tennis off-season, all one and a half months’ worth, is nearly half over. Here’s a look at how some of the pros have been spending their time away from the courts:
Rafael Nadal
The four-time Roland Garros champion loves red dirt, but he’s also partial to blue waters. Joined by his girlfriend, Xischa Perello, Nadal was invited to the island of Mauritius, located off of Africa's eastern coast, by the country’s tourism authority. There, the pair enjoyed relaxation on the pristine beaches and in the luxurious Royal Palm Hotel, where suites start at $2,400 per night. Nadal could also be spotted snorkeling, fishing, and playing golf. If he seemed right at home, it's no wonder – Nadal, an islander from Mallorca, is no stranger to these activities.

Jelena Jankovic
One of the hardest working women in tennis is finally taking a break – from playing, at least. Jankovic has kept a busy off-season schedule by promoting her documentary film, Jelena’s World, and by modeling a clothing line that she helped design for Serbian label Mona.

“I would like to recharge my batteries and do other activities other than tennis, and then start with my preparation nice and fresh,” said Jankovic at last month's WTA season-ending championships in Qatar.

In spite of these demands, Jankovic is planning for some eventual alone time.

“I wouldn't like to see any journalists while I'm on vacation, asking me questions.  I want to rest my mind and body from everything. It has been a long year,” said Jankovic.

Ana Ivanovic (and Fernando Verdasco)
New couples tend to be inseparable, and tennis-playing pairings are no exception. Ivanovic has been dating Spanish Davis Cup hero Fernando Verdasco since the U.S. Open, and lately, they’ve been spotted all around the globe.

Rumors were swirling for weeks that Ivanovic and Verdasco were an item. She recently confirmed these suspicions to Serbian Web site, and also said that she planned to spend a few days in Spain with her new boyfriend. (They were later seen at a Real Madrid soccer match in the Spanish capital.)

“He is a wonderful guy and I can say that I am very happy with him,” said Ivanovic.

Ivanovic will also make a trip home to Serbia to visit her family.

“I'm going to go back to Serbia and probably visit my grandparents,” said Ivanovic. “They have a house in the mountains, and [I can] just spend a quiet week there and just enjoy. I'm sure they will spoil me.”

Nicole Vaidisova and Radek Stepanek
Both Vaidisova and Stepanek – who made news last off-season by applying for a marriage license in Florida – have been spending time in Asia this fall.

In early November, the 20-year-old Vaidisova stopped over in India to walk in a fashion show and make promotional appearances in New Delhi and Mumbai. Vaidisova, who had a rough year on court, told The Hindu that she will resume training in December at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

Meanwhile, boyfriend Radek Stepanek cut his holiday short in Thailand when he was asked to replace the injured Andy Roddick at the Tennis Masters Cup. Stepanek quickly changed his plans and made the trip to Shanghai. Based on his winless performance (0-4 in sets), Stepanek was clearly still in vacation mode.

Jurgen Melzer and Dominika Cibulkova
Austrian Jurgen Melzer and Slovak Dominika Cibulkova are the latest players to be outed as an item. In November, photographs surfaced on the internet of the pair swimming, snorkeling, and smooching in the Maldives.

Fernando Gonzalez
The two-time Olympic medalist is spending his off-season at his home in Santiago, Chile, trading in his tennis racquets for golf clubs. Gonzalez says being at home is what he misses most when playing on tour.

Sam Querrey
Querrey turned 21 on Oct. 7, but he didn't get the chance to celebrate that milestone birthday with family and friends until recently. In late November, Querrey chartered a flight to Las Vegas, where he and his pals partied at the Pure nightclub in Caesar’s Palace before retiring to their 3,500 sq. ft. suite at the Wynn resort. For Christmas, Querrey has rented a 7,000 sq. ft. villa in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico, where he plans to go fishing and zip lining.

Bryan Brothers
The Camarillo-based tandem will play numerous exhibitions and charity events in December before jetting off to Hawaii, where the twins will host a clinic at the Wailea Racquet Club in Maui. Afterwards, as is their annual tradition, Mike and Bob will stay in Hawaii to prepare for the Australian Open.
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