The 19-year-old tennis player explains that aerobic fitness is the key to good match form.
Q: How long have you been involved in sports and tennis?
Shaheed: I started playing tennis at the age of five. My biggest achievement so far is winning the ITF Junior Singles Title in 2015, and in doing so became the first Male Singaporean to win a singles title. I also won the Southeast Asian men’s Tournament Singles Gold in 2017. I continue to be passionate about sport and tennis and have been training at least 25 hours a week since I was 15.
Q: You are one of the ambassadors of the 3M Team Futuro Challenge and ran 5km to launch the program, so you are clearly a regular at running. How does running benefit your tennis skills?
Shaheed: I was very excited and grateful to be chosen as one of the ambassadors of the 3M Futuro Team. Running plays a major part in tennis training as the sport, especially at professional levels, requires tremendous aerobic fitness in order to last through an entire tennis match which may go on for as long as four hours.
However, the kind of running training we tennis players usually do are short-distance sprints and 400m repeats. Only occasionally do we tackle longer distances of 5-10km for endurance training. The last 10km that I entered was during the Run & Raisin’ Charity Run last year.
Q: Since your primary sport is tennis, who do you pick up running advice from?
Shaheed: I do not really have a running “coach” who dishes out running advice at the moment, but when the chance arises I find myself invariably trying to emulate Mok Ying Ren’s running form close. Though I’m doubtful if it’s actually beneficial for my running abilities, I feel that it’s more a reflection of how I see him as a role model who I can look up to. I’ve heard so much about him before I got to know him personally, and he’s been a really awesome friend as well as a trustworthy brotherly figure to me.
Q: Being an athlete and representing the country is a busy affair. Why do you feel that a sports manager is very helpful in keeping you focused?
Shaheed: My sports manager, Jed, and his ONEathlete team have been a significant source of support for me. Ever since I joined ONEathlete, there’s a certain weight off my shoulders especially when it comes to interaction with the media and securing sponsorship which are crucial to any career sportsman and woman, and especially developmental athletes like myself.
This has given me the room and confidence to better focus on my training and also spurred me to do my best in every training as my way of appreciating the faith the team and sponsors have invested in me.
Shaheed Alam is managed by ONEathlete
Follow Shaheed on Instagram: @shaheedalam98