2022 has been a difficult year for German tennis star Alexander Zverev. Suffering from a severe ankle ligament injury in a match against Rafael Nadal in the Roland-Garros French Open earlier this year, he encountered a further setback in September from issues associated with a bone injury. Finally able to embark on full-court training once again, Zverev has just announced that he will be taking part in the World Tennis League in Dubai this December, a highly anticipated return that fans around the world are eagerly looking forward to.
As part of his recovery journey, the Olympic medallist chose to spend time at JOALI BEING, the first wellbeing retreat of its kind in the Maldives. He also took the opportunity to invite hotel guests and children from neighboring islands to participate in tennis workshops with his brother and fellow tennis player, Mischa Zverev. While not able to participate in the workshop himself due to injury, he was there in person to inspire the children and to see how he might be able to continue to support these communities going forward.
It wasn’t just a random decision that led Zverev to JOALI BEING. He was looking for a place that combined training and fitness facilities with the space to recharge, relax and recover. “At JOALI BEING, I found the perfect balance for recovery,” says Zverev. “One can’t train well without recovery, and all aspects of life go hand-in-hand here.”
JOALI BEING’s fitness and wellbeing facilities at CORE played a key role in Zverev’s stay. “It’s equipped with the latest technology, covering skills to performance training, and even has a cryo-chamber which is perfect for muscle recovery,” he says.
Zverev also enjoyed spending time surrounded by vegetation on the Discovery Sound Path, with its nine meditative musical instruments. “It’s relaxing and beautifully designed, and it’s extremely cool to play the different instruments,” he says. But there was once a place that resonated even more with the athlete. “My absolute favorite place is the Meditation Deck at the Ocean Sala. It’s the perfect place to end your day with sunset, and a quiet spot for yoga and meditation.”
While Zverev chose JOALI BEING as a place to relax and recuperate, he also wanted to become involved with the local community and inspire children from neighbouring islands. “I want to share my passion for tennis with children around the world, especially those who are not able to access sports. Connecting with the local children and inspiring them was a true honour, especially in a destination which is so close to my heart,” he says.
Ten children from neighbouring islands took part in the workshop, some of whom are diabetes patients. “As a type 1 diabetic myself, I want to encourage children with diabetes never to give up on their dreams, no matter what others might say to you,” he says. “The only limit is the one you set yourself. After all, I was told I wouldn’t be able to play professional tennis, and here I am, doing exactly that!”
The tennis player has just launched the Alexander Zverev Foundation to provide insulin and life-saving medicine to children in developing countries and those in need. The foundation also supports children with type 1 diabetes, and aims to help prevent type 2 diabetes by encouraging healthy and active lifestyles. “I met local type 1 diabetes patients here to better understand their needs and struggles, and in collaboration with JOALI BEING I am looking forward to further helping patients with the disease, and to creating more awareness in the long term,” says Zverev.
The life of a professional athlete is demanding, not just from a physical level, but from a mental level too, and there are great expectations from all sides. For Zverev, his time spent at JOALI BEING allowed him to create space to relax and focus on the basics. “As a professional athlete, you spend most of your time being very focused and under immense pressure to perform well on a daily basis. When you step out onto a court, no one asks how you feel. It is expected that you perform,” he says.
At JOALI BEING, the resort’s philosophy of “Joy of Weightlessness” resonated with Zverev at every level. “It’s about finding the perfect balance,” he says. “Once your life and daily routine are in balance, you will feel light and weightless.”
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