So You Want to be Like … WTA Star Liezel Huber

Chicago XRC Liezel Huber-XL

Liezel Huber holds her son as she speaks at the USANA XRC in Chicago on April 20.

An excellent mother, a loving wife, a champion tennis player and a brand new USANA Associate. Mix that all together and you get the amazing Liezel Huber.

Liezel leads an amazing life, and I can’t imagine there’s a dull moment during her day. Sometimes I wonder if she has time to breathe. When she is not out on the court, she is at home taking care of her child, reading up on the stock market, and trying to keep in touch with family and friends.

She also runs the Huber Tennis Ranch, which offers world-class coaching. In addition to all that, she’s a brand new USANA Associate! I can only imagine how busy she is (we caught up with her in Chicago where she shared a few thoughts with us).

Liezel loves the game of tennis. She’s been ranked the No. 1 doubles player in the world. She has had huge amounts of success with big tournament wins at French Open, Wimbledon, Australian Open and US Open. She has won 53 WTA doubles titles. She is arguably one of the best doubles players in the game of tennis.

Be Like Liezel Huber

Now you are asking yourself: How do I get all of this? How could I be like Liezel Huber? Liezel has provided some insight as to how you can be like a superstar athlete.

What’s Up, USANA?: What’s one thing you wish you’d known when you were starting your career?

Liezel Huber: Well, there’s a lot. I’m going to tell you there’s no substitute for experience. Every experience I’ve had, I’d make the same decisions again because I’ve learned from it, so I enjoy the good moments and the bad moments because I’m learning.

WUU: What is a typical day for you?

Liezel: Health is very important to us. We wake up early and have our day planned because we function better with a schedule. Because nutrition is important to us, it’s definitely planned into our day with my training. When I wake up I have my water, breakfast right away — because I usually wake up pretty hungry — check my phone and take my vitamins and then head to the tennis court. Practice is pretty much four to five hours a day, with a gym workout, and I work rest in there because rest is just as important as working out. At night I’m pretty tired so I go to bed at 9. I’m pretty boring.

Liezel Huber

Liezel Huber

WUU: What drew you to tennis?

Liezel: My family was involved in tennis; my mom grew up playing tennis and her parents played tennis. For me, it was something that kind of just fell into my hands. I think I was probably a bit better then the other kids in my group, and then it was like “well maybe this is something I could pursue.”

This is a healthy lifestyle for me, my parents supported us and during school holidays we were at tennis tournaments. We even went overseas to watch Wimbledon, so while tennis just brought so much to us, why not continue it?

Being from a tennis family we had great memories. So I’m fortunate that tennis came to us in South Africa. And then when I moved to the states, I pursued it and thought maybe I could go to college. Then I really excelled at my goals, and now here I am, 20 years later, still a professional tennis player competing against teens.

WUU: How important is health when it comes to being a professional athlete?

Liezel: Health is one of the key factors for me. I think with every professional athlete, we kind of put it in a pie. If you look at a pie chart, we divide it into thirds and one third is mental, one third is physical, which is your nutrition, and then your practice and gym workout the other third.

If you leave one of those out, you’re going to have a hole in your pie and you’re not going to be a complete athlete. Same goes for me with nutrition. If I’m not at my peak, if I have a cold or I’m not feeling great, that’s a gap in my pie. My advice is to make sure you have a full pie.

WUU: What’s your advice for someone who wants to be an elite athlete?

Liezel: We all go through dips and have tough times, but I think with anybody in life, athlete or not, if you say to yourself “If I could do this over, what would I do?”

Kind of like if I’m playing match point for Wimbledon, if I had to do it over, this point, what would I do? And many times, you come up with the right decision. So in the tough times, and we all go through rough times, ask yourself that question and you’ll come up with the right decision.

WUU: What is the hardest things you’ve had to do as an athlete?

Liezel: I think the hardest thing for me is when I left home at 15. You know, I left my family. My parents brought me to the states, and this is what I wanted to do. I pursued my dream and that was to be the best I can be, and that was definitely the hardest.

I remember closing myself in my room and just crying. And after about three months, I asked myself, why am I crying? I didn’t realize it was because I missed my family, my food, my friends. I have a twin sister. That was so difficult.

For me that was sacrificing the things that were important and close to me for something that wasn’t even there yet. But if I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t know what I could achieve, so I’m proud of myself for being able to do that at age 15.

Team USANA athletes Mike Lee, Grete Eliassen, Liezel Huber, Andy Studabaker

Team USANA athletes Billy Demong, left, Grete Eliassen, Liezel Huber, Mike Lee and Andy Studebaker share the stage at the Chicago XRC.

WUU: Did you ever have to overcome an injury?

Liezel: In 2005 I blew out my knee. I had the best day of my career four days prior — we won Wimbledon, my first grand slam, and my parents were there watching. And then here I am playing an exhibition match for Billie Jean King, my idol, and I blew out my knee.

I thought that was the end of my career, and I couldn’t believe it. Here I was six months with just rehab to do, thinking who was going to even remember that I had won Wimbledon? But then Hurricane Katrina happened, and I realized I could help all of these people.

So God really had a plan for me and allow me to give back to the community. People didn’t know I had won Wimbledon and they didn’t care, they had more important things to think about.

Sometimes in life, when we think something is that important and devastating, it is, it really is, and we should pay attention to it, but we should realize that there a lot of other things that are more important and know that if we can make it through the difficult times, we can make it through anything.

WUU: In your mind, what does it take to be a professional athlete?

Liezel: To be a professional athlete definitely means giving it your best every day and giving 100 percent every day. Eating, breathing, and doing everything related to your sport. If that’s your dream, go for it. It’s not everybody’s dream to be an athlete and that’s OK,

But I have no regrets. Yes, there were times early in my career that I wasn’t disciplined, but by going through that, it’s made me disciplined today. So the key thing is, you need to be disciplined.

If you want to get serious about becoming an athlete, Liezel has shared some wonderful information with us. Now a lighter side to Liezel, we caught up with her in Palm Springs at the Indian Wells Tournament. She was able to shoot a video for us. Enjoy!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTBoaCjMKzg&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]
If you are unable to view this video, please visit the USANA YouTube channel.

7 Quick Answers

Q: Beaches or Mountains?

A: Beaches

Q: Pie or Cake?

A: Cake

Q: NSYNC or Backstreet Boys?

A: Backstreet Boys

Q: Comedy or Drama?

A: Comedy

Q: Chocolate Nutrimeal or Vanilla Nutrimeal?

A: DEFINITELY vanilla

Q: Gatorade or Water?

A: Water

Q: Potato Chips or Ice Cream?

A: Neither, oh, potato chips

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