The Role of Nutrition in Tennis Performance

Nutrition for Tennis Players

As a tennis player, your diet plays a crucial role in your performance on the court. Proper nutrition can help you maintain energy levels, recover from workouts and matches, and support overall health and well-being.

The sport of tennis is inherently challenging. It requires both mental and physical prowess to play at a high level, and nutrition plays an important role in facilitating this challenge.

By understanding the role nutrition plays in tennis, you can better fuel your body so that it can perform at its peak level during training and competition. In this article, we will explore what nutrition is in tennis, common nutritional deficiencies, and foods that you should eat before playing a match.

Here are some tips for optimizing your nutrition as a tennis player:

Proper Nutrition in Tennis

Eat a balanced diet

As a tennis player, one of the most important things you can do to improve your performance is to eat a balanced diet. A balanced diet should consist of two-thirds complex carbohydrates and one-third proteins and fats.

Consuming foods high in complex carbohydrates will provide energy for long sessions on the court. Complex carbohydrates include foods such as fruit, whole grains, and legumes.

Stay hydrated

Hydration is key for tennis players, as sweat loss during matches and practices can be significant. Make sure you're drinking plenty of water throughout the day, and consider electrolyte-replacement drinks or sports drinks (not recommended due to high amounts of sugar) to help replenish lost fluids and electrolytes.

During training sessions, matches, and practices, you should stay hydrated. If you are not properly hydrated, you will have decreased performance and possibly even muscle cramps.

Eat enough calories

Tennis players need plenty of energy to fuel their workouts and matches. Make sure you're consuming enough calories to support your activity level, especially on days when you have multiple practices or matches.

Consuming enough calories daily will help you recover and build muscle tissue, increase endurance, maintain your energy levels, and support your weight goals.

There are many different formulas and recommendations for how much you should be eating, but it is important to remember that calories do not determine how you will look or feel.

Choose the right fuel before and after workouts

The type of food you choose to consume before and after workouts can make a big difference in your performance. Before workouts, aim for a snack or meal that is high in carbohydrates and easy to digest.

After workouts, focus on protein and carbohydrates to help with muscle recovery. Unlike most sports, tennis players do not “finish with carbs” after training. Instead, you should fuel your body with carbohydrates before and after practice and matches.

Carbs will provide energy for your muscle tissues and brain. There are two types of carbohydrates that you should focus on consuming before training and matches.

  1. Complex Carbohydrates: Foods that are high in complex carbohydrates are beans, whole grains, sweet potatoes, and fruit. These foods will provide you with a sustained energy source throughout the day rather than a quick burst of energy.
  2. Simple Carbohydrates: Foods high in simple carbohydrates are honey, bananas, and raisins. These foods will provide energy for your muscles but are also converted into glucose, which will increase insulin levels.

Pay attention to timing

Timing can be important when it comes to nutrition for tennis players. The timing in which you consume those nutrients will impact how your body uses them.

You should consume the majority of your daily nutrients, especially carbs, hours before training. You should also aim to eat a meal or snack containing carbohydrates and protein within an hour or two of finishing a match or workout to support recovery.


As you can see, a healthy diet plays an important role in tennis performance. If you are consuming a balanced diet, ingesting enough calories, and eating the right fuel at the right times, your body will be able to replenish and recover from workouts and matches. A healthy diet will not only help you perform better on the court but will also support your overall health and well-being.

Remember to listen to your body and be mindful of your own needs, as everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another.