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Basic Nutrition for Tennis

Whether preparing for a local tournament or the US Open, a "healthy" diet and body can clearly contribute to a player’s quest to reach peak performance. In short, what’s good for health is also generally good for tennis.

Pre-Match Nutrition

The nutrient state of a tennis player just before playing or training can have a significant impact on the outcome of a match or the quality of a practice session. Appropriate fat, protein, mineral, and vitamin intake are all important, but the primary pre-match nutritional concerns for all players are adequate carbohydrate and fluid intake.

Post-Match Nutrition

April 6 2010.USTA International Spring Championships.

After a match, a tennis player’s primary nutritional interest should be restoring fluids, electrolytes, and carbohydrates. If the next match is scheduled to begin soon (e.g., within 1 to 2 hours), re-hydration and carbohydrate intake (about 50-100 grams) should begin immediately.

Performance Diet Principles for Competitive Tennis


Drink, Drink, Drink! Drink at least 80 oz. of hydrating fluids per day. Drink before you get thirsty. Replace a liter/hour during play. Sports beverages or water are best on the court; juices, milk, and any other decaffeinated beverages are fine during the day. Fruit juices and sodas should be avoided on the court because of the high sugar concentration. Try to drink before you get thirsty!

Nutrition During Play

As previously mentioned, carbohydrates and fats are the primary energy sources utilized during a tennis practice or match. However, carbohydrate and water are the only principal nutrients that need to be consumed while playing tennis. For some players, salt intake during play is important for maintaining fluid balance and preventing heat-related muscle cramps.

Key Nutrition Pointers for Tennis

Beyond attempting to regularly consuming a healthy, varied and well-balanced diet, players should particularly focus their efforts on adequate and appropriate consumption of three primary nutrients – water, electrolytes, and carbohydrates. These nutrients have the immediate effect on performance. Some key take home points and recommendations are listed.

How to Manage Water and Electrolyte Losses

Your body produces heat during tennis -- lots of it! And as intensity and duration of play increase, you face an growing challenge to eliminate the accumulating heat, especially in hot weather. The best way for a tennis player to get rid of internal body heat during play is by sweating. But if it’s hot and humid, even sweating doesn’t eliminate heat effectively.

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