Fun meeting Robert Downey Jr. – 1986
Steven Davis says he was drawn to the similarities between the two sports
By Jen Murphy – Wall Street Journal
As a plastic surgeon, Steven Davis fixes a lot of broken noses. Yet that doesn’t deter him from dodging tennis balls and boxing gloves on a regular basis. Before he heads to work, Dr. Davis is either on the tennis court or in the boxing ring.
Dr. Davis, 54, started playing tennis as a child and attended La Salle University in Philadelphia on a tennis scholarship. He juggled medical school while playing satellite tournaments on the Association of Tennis Professionals circuit from 1983 to 1985. These tournaments, which were discontinued after the 2006 season, gave players a chance at winning a qualifying draw for major events.
Playing Two Different Sports Does a Mind and Body Good
If he didn’t do well in a tournament, he says, he’d think “Hey, I’m in med school.” “Finally, I realized I needed to focus on one,” he says. Dr. Davis chose medical school but continues to play tennis recreationally. He is the founder of Davis Cosmetic Plastic Surgery, which has offices in Cherry Hill, N.J., Northfield, N.J., and Philadelphia.
He prefers workouts that require learning a new skill and says he was drawn to the similarities between boxing and tennis. “You’re out there alone on the court or in the ring and it comes down to understanding what the other guy is going to do so you can counter it,” he says.
In 2010, he started boxing at a fitness center near his home in Cherry Hill. “There was a ring but it was hard to feel authentic when you had Zumba going on next door,” he says.
A year later, a patient told him about Joe Hand Boxing Gym in Philadelphia and he now works out twice a week with a professional boxer there. “I walked in the door and it was a no frills, real-deal boxing gym,” he recalls. “I’ve yet to take a bad hit, but I do get called on at the gym to assess others who’ve been hit and might have a broken nose.”
Dr. Davis at the speed bag. PHOTO: SCOTT LEWIS FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Dr. Davis works with a tennis pro at the Cherry Hill Tennis & Racquet Club from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. on Monday and Thursday mornings, before he has office hours. He focuses on drills rather than playing a match. He warms up by hitting the ball back and forth from service line to service line. They then move back to the baseline and try to keep one ball in play 100 times.
“It’s a running drill more than anything,” he says. “It doesn’t matter if the ball goes out of bounds, we still run for it.”
Next, they take a basket of tennis balls and take turns lobbing balls to each other to practice their forehand and backhand.
On weekends in warmer months, he plays matches outdoors on clay courts at the Haddon Field Club in Haddonfield, N.J., with friends or one of his sons.
Dr. Davis boxes Saturday mornings and one evening a week. The hourlong sessions include jumping rope, glove work, hitting the bag and sparring with his trainer in the ring. His trainer dons boxing mitts and instructs Dr. Davis to throw different punches like a jab or uppercut. Sometimes his trainer holds a foam swim noodle in each hand and waves them around so he has to bob and weave out of the way.
Three days a week, Dr. Davis does a full-body, strength-training circuit either at his home gym or at the gym at his club.
Each night Dr. Davis blends a protein drink for pre- and post-workout fuel the next morning. He doesn’t eat a lot during the workweek. Surgery typically starts around 7 a.m. and he’ll have a protein bar on the way to the operating room. On the two days he has office hours, he eats lunch at his desk, usually cottage cheese or yogurt and an apple and protein bar.
He and his wife eat dinner together when he gets home, around 9 p.m. They try to avoid sugar and carbs during the week and have grilled chicken or fish and salads and vegetables. On weekends, they order in or go out and will splurge on pasta and bread.
Dr. Davis pays $500 a year for an annual family membership at the Haddon Field Club. He pays for court time at Cherry Hill Tennis & Racquet Club: $45 for an hour or $35 for early-bird hours. His Nike Free Trainer 5.0 v6 training shoes cost $100. His Head Graphene Radical Pro tennis racket cost $190.
His boxing trainer charges $30 an hour. He wears Everlast Protex2 Training Gloves, which retail for $50. To protect his hands from injury, Dr. Davis wraps them in Title Boxing handwraps, which cost around $10 a roll, before he puts on his gloves.
He spent around $35,000 upgrading his home gym a year ago with a recumbent bike, a treadmill, a heavy bag and speed bag, a Smith weight-training machine and dumbbells.
Dr. Davis says his two sons, ages 23 and 19, keep his music taste hip.
“My iPod has everything you can imagine from Jay Z to Sinatra. You might hear a track by Andrea Bocelli followed by a song from Ne-Yo,” he says.