AARP: You and Tony are named Team SweetSpot. How did that name come about?
Martina: That’s a combination of tennis and dancing. You need to hit the sweet spot on the tennis racket to hit solid shots, and you need to hit it in dancing to stay centered and soft on your feet.
AARP: I imagine that, like most champion athletes, you had a pre-match routine that you repeated time and again. Will you be drawing on that experience as the curtain goes up Monday night?
Martina: Absolutely. I’m sure I’ll be pretending I’m on Centre Court at Wimbledon. The biggest thing for me is to not overdo it. When you’re nervous, you’re often tempted to over-perform. So when I’m dancing, I might [be tempted] to take bigger steps, but that would be the exact wrong thing to do. I’ll have to put a mental leash on myself.
AARP: I hear Tony is designing your dresses. Are you comfortable dancing in the outfit you’ll be wearing for the first episode?
Martina: Yeah, I had my first fitting yesterday, and it fit perfectly. It’s very soft and comfortable, with a long skirt. It’s a nice black number.
AARP: How nervous are you headed into Monday night?
Martina: I’m totally terrified! But I think I’ll be all right. [All the DWTS competitors] are in the same boat, for the most part. There are a couple of ringers, I’m sure. But most of us are handicapped in some way. I’m clearly the underdog here—the bookies have me at 20-to-1 odds to win (William Levy is the favorite, with 4-to-1 odds to win). But I’m prepared, and I feel good about it.
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