Tennis is a high-intensity sport involving hundreds of short bursts of activity. Most points in tennis last less than 10 seconds. But tennis is also an endurance sport. When playing long matches, a player averages only 25 seconds of rest between points and only 90 seconds between games. It is very important to consume the right foods and beverages to have enough energy to play your best.

The nutritional needs for tennis players depends on age, gender, training intensity and competition schedule. You may want to work with a sports dietitian to create a food and hydration plan that fits your training schedule and lifestyle. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Eat at least 2.7 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight per day. On days that you are on the court several hours, increase your carbohydrate intake to approximately 4 grams per pound of body weight. Good sources of carbohydrates include:
    • whole grain breads
    • cereals
    • fruits
    • vegetables
    • Tennis players need between .55 and .8 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. Good sources of protein include:
      • fish
      • chicken
      • turkey
      • beef
      • low-fat milk
      • cheese
      • yogurt
      • eggs
      • soy foods
      • Have a planned schedule for drinking fluids. Drinking enough fluids improves performance and helps prevent heat illness during training and competition. Drink more during hot days, and include sports drinks that contain electrolytes. Avoid drinks that are high in caffeine and sugar.
      • Pay special attention to pre-match meals, as these foods may need to last for hours during a tournament and multiple match play. Foods should be high in carbohydrates and low in fiber and fat, so the meal can be easily digested.
      • Post-match nutrition is equally important. Eating carbohydrates within 30 minutes after intense play can help restore fuel to tired muscles and will aid in recovery.
        • Drinking a sports drink as you walk off the court is a quick and easy choice.
        • A meal high in carbohydrates that also contains a lean protein source should be consumed within two hours after a match.