Unlike many sports, tennis lacks a ‘finishing point’. Once competitors have entered the court, they have no idea whether the game will be over in 2 hours or 7! The tennis match ever record was between American John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut and was played from 22nd – 24 th June 2010. The 3 day game lasted 11 hours 5 minute and was eventually won by the man from USA John Isner.
Therefore, eating sustainable foods that keeps athletes on the top of their game throughout the match is essential and not doing so will make you perform at a much lower level.
To ensure your food is properly digested (no one likes competing on a full stomach), it’s best to eat around 3-4 hours before your play. Your plate should consist of high carbohydrates (i.e. pasta & rice), moderate protein (i.e. grilled chicken) and a few low fat foods (i.e. dried fruits).
Every tennis star from Novak Djokovic to Venus Williams, Andy Murray to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga all have different diet techniques; read about the odd tennis diets of champions for inspiration at thetennisspace.com!
A few hours before you play feel free to snack on energy bars, isotonic sports drinks, fruits and plenty of water.
Now it’s time to warm-up, slip on your tennis shoes, do your stretches and put all your healthy eating to productive use, if you don’t have a good pair of tennis shoes you can buy them from Millet Sports or other online sellers such as Amazon and eBay.
The aim of in-between set meals is to replenish glycogen through energy gels and sports drinks. Bananas are also particularly popular for during a tennis match due to being a rich source of potassium and other nutrients; Maria Sharapova is a particular fan of a mid-game banana! Bananas are also popular with cyclists, runners and hikers.
When players sweat, electrolytes are lost; these can be replaced by water so taking plenty down to the court with your is definitely a good idea.
The United States Tennis Association also has some useful energy hints and nutrition tips for competitive tennis which you can find online at usta.com.
Staying mentally and physically alert after a grueling day on court can sometimes be a challenge. Eating the right foods will ensure you regain your strength and are ready to play again as soon as possible.
Eating high-protein meals (i.e. lean meat such as beef and chicken) with high carbohydrates (i.e. rice, pasta & potatoes) and energy drinks will get you back to your best. If you can get your hands on sodium-rich foods, such as cheese, this will benefit your body too which you should can know more about by reading a overview of diets that works.
Meals should be eaten around 2 hours after the match as it is easier to replenish the lost energy; any longer and the food will take longer to have a positive effect.