|SPORTS & WELLNESS|
THIS will, in all certainty, be the most open of French Open title fights in recent history. Roger Federer, the most consistent player in the last decade has finally moved off his perch and been replaced by not one but two contenders. Rafael Nadal is bouncing back from his injury in style, lapping up all the tournaments that come his way, be it on grass, hard court or his staple, clay.
The Serbian Novak Djokovic, too, has made giant strides in the process and is coming good in almost all games and recently he also got the better of clay king Nadal in Madrid. Then, there are the obvious other ‘to watch out for’ players, including David Ferrer, Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Andy Roddick. There is just too much to look out for as the players start gearing up for the second Grand Slam of the year (May 17- June 5).
In the women’s category, defending champion and world no 4 Francesca Schiavone is all set to put a heavy prize on her title. She might have emerged as one of the strongest women’s players on clay but there will be some tough competition on offer. She will have to fight her way through a field comprising the likes of Kim Clijsters, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic and, of course, the fit-again Williams sisters. A lot will depend on who carries the most momentum while coming into the tournament.
In the doubles category, the Williams sisters had totally dominated the women’s category and, provided there are no fitness issues at their end, will again be a major force to reckon with.
In the men’s category, Daniel Nestor and Ninad Zimonjic will again be looking to keep their brilliant chemistry and push for the title.
The Indian challenge will, of course, will be led by Sania Mirza and Somdev Devvarman, provided they do qualify for the main draw. While Sania’s game has been steadily improving, and she has started hitting the ball with more and more confidence, a sign that she is completely over her wrist-injury woes.
Somdev, on the other hand, is probably going through the form of his life and the Indian has beaten some big names in the past one year to drive home the point that he better not be taken lightly. His game is slightly different from the regular serve-and-volley style used by most Indian players, and he does put in that extra physical effort to take it to the next level in the big games.
The doubles frontier will, of course, be looked after by the Indian Express of Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes, who have come together after some really bitter feuds in the past years, when they had stopped playing together. But now the duo are back and after having claimed the no. 1 position in men’s doubles, they will be looking to add one of their favourite Grand Slams to their list of achievements.
When the action begins from May 17 onwards, its intensity will be unrivalled. The pride, aura and glamour of a Grand Slam, that too the only one played on clay has increased over the years. While the last few years saw the Federer-Nadal rivalry take over much of the hype, this time it should be different. There are favourites, of course. Novak Djokovic, despite beating Nadal, has said that the Spaniard is still surely the strongest contender. Flattery? Or is it the start of mind games before the actual tournament?
SUMMER brings with it several pleasures. Schoolchildren look forward to summer vacations with excitement. Visits to hill stations are quite common. Summers are a time when the trekkers and mountaineers go into the woods to scale the mountains. Ice-cream lovers relish their favourite flavours in summer. But summer does bring in problems, too. Summers are tiring. Summers are demanding. Summers drain our energies more than ever. But every coin has two sides and it depends on what perspective one looks at. By making a small shift in your habits you can stay healthy throughout the summer season.
Eating light, nutritious and non-fatty meals helps. Small frequent meals, five to six a day could be beneficial.
It is better not to eat out at the local eateries for fear of infections.
In an elevated temperature, your body loses water and sodium in the form of sweat, therefore, it is important for you to drink water in abundance. Lemon juice, coconut water and buttermilk can boost your energy, which is most likely to be lost by perspiration.
Use double-toned or skimmed milk and its products — curd and cottage cheese.
Including fruits and vegetables containing a good amount of water and salts like watermelon, oranges, muskmelon, cucumber, broccoli, sweet lime (mausambhi) and onions in your diet is a good way to keep you hydrated.
Avoid fried and junk foods like samosas, pakoras, burger, pizza, etc, as greasy and fried foods have a high thermal effect on your body and makes you feel lethargic.
Cut down your consumption of very spicy, hot, and salty food during summers and try to stick to natural and light food.
Most of the aerated drinks contain caffeine, therefore, it is advisable to avoid them as their consumption may lead to dehydration. Alcoholic, high-sugar liquids should also be avoided.
Include more of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are seasonal (apricots, peaches, mangoes, etc.), and cereals like oatmeal in the diet, as they are a good source of antioxidants and other vital nutrients, which protect the body against the oxidative stress and damage and boosts the immune system.
Minimise the intake of dried fruits to five or six per day.
Include a probiotic drink or yoghurt in your menu plan once in a week so as to keep the digestive system healthy.
Here are some healthy recipes that will help keep you cool and light during these summers:
Watermelon agua fresca
Blend 1 cup of cubed and de-seeded chilled watermelon, ¼ cup of chilled water, ½ tbsp. sugar (adjust according to the sweetness of the watermelon) and 1 tbsp. lemon juice in a blender for 8-10 secs. Garnish with mint leaves and serve chilled.
Combine 2 cucumbers (peeled, de-seeded and chopped), 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice, ½ tbsp sugar and a cup of chilled water. Blend the ingredients in a mixer. Serve chilled in a tall glass.
Take one sliced banana (big), 5 almonds, 1 tbsp sugar and ½ a glass milk. Grind them well, till you get a smooth shake. Again add 1 cup of milk and blend well. Serve chilled.
Roast 1½ tbsp. of oats without using fat. Add 1tbsp of finely chopped almonds, 1glass cold milk (skimmed), 1 tsp honey or powdered sugar and a pinch of cinnamon powder. Place all the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. If the mixture feels a little thick, add 2-3 ice cubes and blend again. Pour into a tall glass and serve.
Mango coconut smoothie
Blend 2 cups of peeled and diced mangoes, few ice cubes, ½ cup thick coconut milk (increase for a thinner consistency) and honey or sugar as required. Pour into glasses and serve.
Sprouts and apple salad
Finely chop an apple and cucumber. Combine with a cup of green gram dal sprouts. Just before serving, combine salt, black pepper powder, pinch of sugar and lemon juice and combine well.
Cucumber mango and bean salad
In a bowl, whisk ½ tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 chopped green chilli, a tsp. of chopped coriander leaves and ½ tbsp of honey. Add 1 peeled and cubed ripe mango, ½ cup cooked rajmah, 1 sliced red bell pepper, 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into 1" pieces and washed and torn lettuce. Toss well till combined with dressing. Serve chilled.
Tomato cheese salad
De-seed 2 large tomatoes and dice. Peel and dice 2 cucumbers. Cut a cheese cube into small pieces. In a bowl, whisk 1½ tbsp. olive oil, a large pinch of powdered sugar, crushed pepper, pinch of salt and a tbsp. of chopped coriander leaves or mint leaves. Add the diced tomatoes, cucumber and cheese to the bowl and mix well. Chill and serve.
Boil chicken adding some salt and pepper. Drain the stock and de-bone the chicken and chop into small pieces. Julienne capsicums slice onions, cucumber and tomatoes (de-seed). Combine all the above ingredients and chill. In a bowl, combine 1 tbsp. mayonnaise (low fat), 1 tbsp. mustard sauce, 1 tbsp. honey, ½ tbsp. lemon juice, 2 tbsp. roasted and peeled peanuts, pepper and salt to taste. Whisk well. Just before serving tear ice burg lettuce roughly and add to the chilled chicken and vegetables. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Serve.
The writer is the chief dietician, Department of Dietetics, PGI