Monday, April 15, 2024
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Tennis: Number one trains with his mouth taped shut

Top athletes are always trying to develop and improve their performance. The measure that Iga Świątek has now taken, however, seems unusual.

You’ve probably never seen a tennis star like this before. Iga Świątek, the number one in the WTA ranking, was on the practice court in Montreal these days. The 22-year-old will be the top seed at the 1000-category hard-court tournament this week. That wouldn’t be newsworthy in itself if she hadn’t been wearing tape on her mouth.

The Pole, who is known for her innovative training, hit balls in her session while a white, clearly visible tape was stuck on her mouth. A rather strange sight. Fans have been debating ever since: is this innovative or already over the top?

Speculations about tape effect

What is such a tape supposed to do? There is also intense speculation about this. One approach: Świątek uses the tape to train her breathing through her nose. This supplies the muscles with oxygen more efficiently than breathing through the mouth. This is how she tries to increase her endurance.

The four-time Grand Slam winner has not yet issued a statement on her training action.

Last week, Świątek won her “home tournament” in Warsaw, knocking out Laura Siegemund of Germany 6-0, 6-1 in the final. Before that, however, she had been knocked out in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.

Whether her tape training will also pay off in North America will become clear in the coming days. And at the end of August at the latest. The US Open is the fourth and last Grand Slam tournament of the year. Świątek will compete there as the defending champion.

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