ABU DHABI // James Blake, the American tennis player ranked 10th in the world, yesterday visited diabetes patients in Abu Dhabi to speak to patients about the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle. Blake, one of the first players to arrive in Abu Dhabi for the Capitala World Tennis Championship, met doctors and patients at the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre in the capital, to share insights from his fitness programme as a professional sportsman.
"A professional tennis players' diet does not eliminate any essential nutrients and combined with a reasonable exercise regime, maintains the body. "There are definitely elements of my diet and fitness regime which everyone can incorporate into their daily lives, and I hope that sharing some of my experiences has helped in some small way," Mr Blake said. He stressed that it was possible to keep Type 2 diabetes at bay by adopting a healthy diet and taking regular exercise.
One in five people in the UAE has diabetes, the second-highest rate in the world. The Diabetes Centre specialises in treatment, research, training and public-health awareness. "It was great to meet with the guys from the centre and understand more about the challenges that they face every day," Blake said. The Capitala championship is from Thursday to Saturday at the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex at Zayed Sports City. Such stars as Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick will compete for the title.
Blake has made a comeback after slipping and breaking his neck in 2004 while practising for a tournament in Rome. A further setback came the same year after he developed shingles, which gave him blurred vision and partially paralysed his face. His father also died of stomach cancer. Blake wrote a book, Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life.