The ideal tennis player diet is the food you put in your body, which directly impacts your performance on the court.
Like any other sport, tennis players should have a healthy and balanced diet to achieve the greatest outcomes. Correct tennis nutrition regimens should be tailored to each participant’s time and needs. This implies finding nutrition that offers this balance of energy and essential nutrients, tastes good, is easy on your stomach, and works with your daily schedule.
While the diet should be tailored to the individual, some fundamental rules of the tennis player’s diet can help any tennis player enhance their game. The proper tennis diet is vital for developing an effective training plan and is the foundation for a competitive training routine. Tennis is a physically demanding sport, and it is critical to maintaining a nutritious diet to ensure that the body is well-prepared for training.
The following are nutrition tips for the active and committed athlete.
- What Is a Tennis Diet?
- Pre-Match Nutrition
- Nutrition During a Match
- Post-Match Nutrition
- Training Nutrition
- General Nutrition Advice
- Extra Resources
What Is a Tennis Diet?
A balanced tennis diet should include all micronutrients, including carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. The food you eat needs to maximize your energy stores to meet your energy demands throughout your game and afterward.
It is also critical to maintaining a healthy vitamin and mineral balance. Choosing fresh and natural products over processed and quick foods is essential to a healthy tennis diet.
Carbohydrates are the most common source of energy. They serve as “fuel” for your muscles and organs. Before playing tennis, you should take enough complex carbohydrates to enhance performance and to keep your body from fatiguing during a match. Experts refer to it as an athlete’s stored carbohydrates.
However, the amount should not be excessive. Otherwise, you will get sluggish and sleepy as players use so much energy that it can result in depleted glycogen stores.
Higher glycemic index foods can provide faster energy and recovery both before and after a match.
Dietary fats are an important energy source during long matches or training sessions, but they are not intended to be the primary supply of energy for tennis performance. Fat also helps to satisfy the player’s appetite for extended periods, preventing hunger during play.
Fats are a richer calorie supply, having nine calories per gram, whereas carbs and protein include only four calories per gram. Players should ideally consume twice as much vegetable fat on a heart-healthy diet as animal fat.
After a rigorous workout or competition, your muscles must first regenerate. Proteins help you with this process. Proteins aid in developing and maintaining muscle. They cannot, however, be used as a source of energy.
Protein is essential for a tennis player’s body to meet muscle and organ growth and repair needs. Again, protein is not intended to be used as an energy source on the tennis court. Protein is becoming increasingly crucial for recovery needs between matches and after tennis play, allowing players to return to the court in peak condition.
According to new studies, players should ingest an easily digestible source of protein within 30 minutes after playing tennis for optimal muscle repair.
Vitamins, of course, should be included in a well-balanced diet. Taking vitamins protects your immune system and ensures a healthy metabolism.
The WTA, for example, suggests the following vitamins and minerals (vitamin b, vitamin c, vitamin d, calcium, and iron) help satisfy the dietary demands of some players, particularly during periods of intense training, illness, or injury. As a result, also make sure that any meals include a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Fluid intake is essential when playing tennis since the high intensity of matches and hot weather conditions can cause excessive sweating and electrolyte loss. Match time can be unpredictable, making matters more difficult and necessitating constant attention to excellent hydration techniques.
Because dehydration can affect performance and your decision-making ability, drinking fluids regularly is a smart place to start.
Having sports drinks easily accessible during practices and matches and taking advantage of drinking opportunities will help replace sweat losses.
In general, you should refill your carbohydrate storage properly before the contest. If possible, begin eating carbohydrate-rich foods the day before the game. The energy will remain in your body until the next day and keep a steady energy store to power through the matches later on.
It is critical to start matches properly fuelled and hydrated. Match scheduling can be erratic, making it difficult to know when to eat a pre-match meal. By and large, eating 2-4 hours before a match and then supplementing it with a small snack is a solid strategy. Carbohydrate-rich foods will supply essential energy. Thus this should be the foundation of the pre-match tennis diet. Meals and snacks should be high in protein but low in fat.
Sugary products should be avoided due to the possibility of an energy drop during the game. To avoid intestinal cramping, the pre-match meal should be had at least 2 hours before the game. Some good suggestions include Nuts, fruits, yogurt, muesli, bread, rice, chicken, potatoes & pasta.
Nutrition During a Match
Because tennis matches are frequently played in hot weather, replenishing fluid losses and staying cool during breaks in play is critical. Players should maintain their bodies hydrated by drinking water every 15 minutes rather than waiting until they are thirsty. Some useful strategies are:
- To keep water bottles cool, fill them with ice and store them in eskies
- Keep track of your hydration intake with individual bottles
- Choose fluids with a higher salt concentration to facilitate successful rehydration
- Apply cool hand towels to the neck and face
- If possible, sit in front of the fans during breaks
Players should keep in mind to bring proper sports drinks and/or snacks to have on-court so that they can refuel and rehydrate during any breaks throughout a match, depending on the length and intensity of the play.
Many athletes dislike eating while playing since it causes the food to sit in their stomachs. Specialized sports meals such as gels, energy bars, and sports beverages might be advantageous because they digest quickly.
After a grueling match, your body has lost significant water. As a result, you should absolutely refill your fluid reserves. If you have another match the next day, your body will need to recuperate rapidly. Take protein-rich food within 30 minutes of a match to assist your muscles repair.
Lean proteins should be included in the meal to aid in muscle recovery (repair), as well as complex carbs and veggies. Chicken or fish with whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, and veggies are good options for a post-match meal.
Include plenty of veggies to complete recovery nutrition and support gut and immune system function. The antioxidant Vitamin E can potentially accelerate recovery time during heavy training cycles, tournament play or match play by decreasing free radical damage after exercise.
Tennis training can be very demanding, which puts athletes in need of more energy and carbohydrates. Therefore, nutrition regimens must be periodized to correspond with the player’s training demands.
For instance, a diet rich in nutrient-rich carbohydrates is essential to maintain performance and encourage recovery during intense exercise. Energy and carbohydrate requirements are decreased at other times when training loads are less.
General Nutrition Advice
Preparation is everything! Unexpected circumstances (i.e., rain, lengthy matches before your own) might cause matches to be delayed. Tennis players’ diets are an important element of the training process that should not be disregarded.
A healthy tennis diet not only makes players feel better but has also been shown to significantly impact player performance and game results. Choose the appropriate items, remain hydrated with a clean, electrolyte-rich sports drink, and avoid processed foods; you’ll see a difference on the court in no time.
What Is Roger Federer’s Diet?
Federer prefers a diverse and primarily healthy diet consisting of complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, protein bars, and healthy fats. No stranger to an occasional cheat day, he also indulges in pizza, chocolate, ice cream, and decadent dishes from around the world now and then.
What Is Novak Djokovic’s Diet?
Novak follows a plant-based, gluten-free diet based on veggies, beans, white meat, fish, fruit, nuts, seeds, chickpeas, lentils and healthy oils.
What Do Tennis Players Drink to Stay Hydrated?
We suggest drinking 16-20 oz. of water in the morning, energy drinks with fructose and electrolyte-enhanced drinks during match play or training sessions, and protein drinks after a workout. Professional tennis players usually drink both water and sports drinks during a match.
How Many Carbs Should a Tennis Player Eat?
An appropriate guideline for a competitive tennis player is to ingest between 3-5 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight daily, which equals 470 grams (or 1870 calories from carbs) for a 160-pound athlete, which would mean around 63% of a 3000-calorie intake for a given day.
Christoph Friedrich is a German tennis player and coach currently residing in Oakland, California. He began his tennis journey at the age of eight and has since dedicated his life to the sport. After working as a tennis coach and hitting partner in New York City for eight years, Christoph decided to share his knowledge and experience with tennis players around the world by creating the My Tennis Expert blog. His goal is to make tennis education accessible to everyone and help players select the best equipment for their game, from racquets and strings to shoes and overgrips. Christoph's extensive research and expertise in tennis technology make him a valuable resource for players of all levels.