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Stretches for tennis players

2.62K   //    22 May 2014, 16:56 IST
Rafael Nadal stretching
Rafael Nadal stretching

The average distance covered on the court by a tennis player is much higher than the average distance a cricketer would cover in a match. Statistics show that a player in a tennis match, which can last up to five sets, can cover more than 15 times a cricketer would cover in a 50-over game.

In the longest match in tennis history, between John Isner and Nicholas Mahut at the 2010 Wimbledon, a match that lasted for 11 hours, it is estimated that each individual covered 9.6 km (6 miles). However, this can vary depending on the players. The match between Novak Djokovic and Radek Stepanek at the 2007 US Open was a five-set match where Stepanek covered 8 km, whereas Djokovic covered only 5.6 km.

In cricket, especially with outfields becoming really quick in recent days, players rarely run more than two runs. On average, a player with an average of 40 may run for 20 runs in a match. That is, the player covers, on average, 20x22 yards = 440 yards = 400 metres (approx). On adding a few hundred metres to this for fielding, the total will come to 600 metres. A fast bowler may cover a few additional metres for his quota of 10 overs. 

Developing physical strength:

So it is evident that it is not just aces, groundstrokes, lobs and technique that play a part in winning matches in tennis, but the fitness level of the player also have a bearing on the result. Getting ready for a tennis match is not just about touching your toes and stretching your quads; it is more than that.The main target is to develop a high base level of strength.

Total body workouts can achieve this goal. The exercises should target the major muscle groups like the legs, core, upper body, shoulders and arms.

However, tennis places a lot of stress on some key joints and muscle groups in the elbow, wrist and shoulder. So specific exercises should be performed for these muscles. The following are the exercises which are commonly used.

1. Squats or leg presses

?2. Push-ups

3. Lunges

4. Twisting crunches

5. Shoulder presses

6. Bicep curls

7. External and internal rotations

8. Wrist curls

9. Wrist rotations

10. Grips

Diet and nutrition:

The diet should include a high amount of protein for muscular development. Tennis players need to drink water or fluids regularly even without any physical activities because hydration is vital for normal body processes. Reports show that ideally, tennis players should consume 80 ounces of water or any type of fluid daily. It is also very important to drink the water or fluid regularly and not just drink it when you become thirsty. 

Tennis players need to consume high amount of carbohydrates considering the amount of energy they lose during training, practice sessions and matches. Carbohydrates fuel muscles and avoid early muscle fatigue, thus increasing the player’s endurance. 

On-court warmups:

Before getting into the match, every player should do light hitting of tennis balls from the baseline. Also, use of good footwork to move around the court can help put the body get into its full range of motions.

Off-court preparation:

Proper rest and sleep are also vital in preparing for a match. Do other relaxing activities like swimming, yoga, music or whatever it is that you feel like doing.

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