Tennis Player Diet Revealed-Complete Tennis Nutrition Guide

tennis player diet


The physical demands of tennis are such that players need to make sure they’re fueling their bodies correctly. 

This is especially important for pros, who play a grueling game day in and day out. If you want your performance on the court to be at its best, it may be time to start thinking about how what you eat can affect every shot you take – not just during practice or before an upcoming match but all throughout the season.

If you want to be a great tennis player, then it’s important that you have the right diet. Not only does this mean eating varied and balanced meals from food groups five times a day, but also adapting your diet to meet your body’s needs for energy expenditure. 

This will help keep not just your physical health in check while improving coordination skills and quick reflexes on court, but also improve mental performance too! 

So if you’re looking to make some changes with how often or what time of day you eat during training sessions – take note! Your game will thank you later.

what do tennis players eat

How should a tennis player’s diet be?

The diet of a tennis player should be varied and balanced in food and nutrients, making a minimum of 5 meals a day. And adapted to the energy expenditure of the player. In order for players to perform at their best on court they need to have an adequate supply of all macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fats) as well as vitamins and minerals. 

To learn more about how you can fuel your body with healthy foods that will help give you enough energy throughout the game while also achieving an optimal weight, read below.

What should a tennis player eat?

Carbohydrates4-7 gram/kg for regular exercise7-10 gram/kg for intense exercising
Proteins1.2-1.4 gram/kg
Fats1 gram/kg


All carbohydrates are not created equal.

There are many benefits from eating healthy foods such as complex carbohydrates like whole grains, vegetables and fruits while limiting simple sugars at least one hour before an event. 

These may include improved concentration during matches (less tired), better reaction time (from more energy) and increased endurance because these carbs will provide you with constant fuel throughout the day instead of just when it’s needed most-during game play.

The best ones to eat before a match are complex carbs, which provide slow and steady energy levels during the game or practice session. 

This will help you feel more energized for longer periods of time without crashing and burning. 

Simple sugars should be limited as much as possible because they cause spikes in blood sugar that can make players sluggish and unfocused on their matches. 

It is also important to distribute your carb intake evenly throughout the day so that it doesn’t become too difficult to manage later on.

What carbohydrates to eat?

  1. Rice
  2. Rye
  3. Oats
  4. Pasta
  5. Wheat
  6. Brown bread


tennis protein diet

Protein is a vital nutrient for tennis players, and should constitute approximately between 20 to 25% of the diet. The best sources are animal proteins such as meat, poultry, fish, low-fat cheeses, low-fat deli meats (turkey, chicken), and low-fat dairy products. 

Vegetable protein includes cereals from wheat or rice flour, legumes like lentils or beans, nuts like walnuts or almonds.

What proteins to eat?

  1. Dairy Goat’s milk is preferable. Fermented products such as organic yogurt and fresh cheeses are preferable.
  2. Meat. Avoid pork in all forms – bacon, ham, sausage – or eat it no more than once per week maximum.


Fats are an important source of energy, but if you eat the wrong ones they can limit performance. 

Eating too many saturated fats on a daily basis will not only make it difficult for your body to recover from exercise, it’ll also keep you feeling heavy and sluggish during workouts. To get rid of that bloated feeling after eating fatty foods like french fries or pastries, opt for unsaturated fats such as vegetable oils, avocado, olives and nuts instead.

If you want to avoid saturated fats, which can be found in animal products like butter and cream or fried foods such as French fries, then opt for unsaturated fats. These are vegetable oils, avocados, olives, trans-free margarine and nuts and seeds. 

Be sure not to eat these too often though because they do contain a lot of calories that will affect your performance if eaten in excess!

What fats to eat?

  1. Seeds and nuts.
  2. Olive oil, linseed oil.
  3. sardines, salmon, anchovies.

Vitamins for tennis players

Currently, modern farming practices and commercial processing methods have led to the foods we eat being low in nutrients. 

And because of our exposure to more environmental factors that cause oxidation, it is extremely important for tennis players to make sure they are eating a well-balanced diet with a sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals.

What to eat to consume vitamins?

  1. Raw, steamed, baked vegetables.
  2. Whole fruits and natural juices.
  3. Soybeans, lentils, chickpeas, peas.

What do the top tennis players eat?

Roger Federer

“A few years ago it occurred to me that I should go to a dietician. It was then in 12th place in the ranking. I went and told the specialist: Look doctor, I have to take my career in a very professional way, I want to know what do I have to eat before and after the games, what do I have to eat for breakfast, what can I not eat? “

“He looked at me and said: Look, if you’ve already reached twelfth place in world tennis, the only thing I can tell you is don’t eat a lot of sweets and you could be number one. I thanked him and never came back”

Rafa Nadal

Rafael Nadal’s diet is a perfect example of how food can be your best ally to get the most out of your workouts. Even if you don’t have his privileged physique, it doesn’t mean that you should not try and eat like he does. 

The 65% carbohydrates in his diet translate into power for him which has led many people to believe that this is what they need as well. If you want more muscle mass or are looking for ways to improve your performance at work, consider eating like Rafa!

His secret? Eating a high-carbohydrate diet with plenty of protein and healthy fats like olive oil. Among his favorite dishes are omelets, rice with vegetables or pasta mixed with vegetables.

Novak Djokovic

Until 2010 Djokovic persisted in having a normal, casual diet that followed the similar patterns of all of the other players. However, this changed when he was found allergic to gluten.

Djokovic claims that he frequently does fasts during the day, eating mainly green and healthy foods, not spending too much on his diet. He noted some of the foods he likes: Quinoa, rice and sweet potatoes.

If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, this may be a great diet for you. However, if your symptoms are not caused by gluten sensitivities or celiac disease and if other dietary changes haven’t helped, please see your doctor to find out why these symptoms persist.

Diet for a teenage tennis player

When planning a diet for a junior tennis player, as a parent, it is important to make sure your athlete has access to healthy food throughout the day. It can be easy for kids (and adults) to get stuck in a rut and eat unhealthy foods all the time if they have no other option available.

If you are a parent of an athlete, make sure your child is getting enough nutritious food for breakfast and lunch. This will help them perform better on the court or field. Keep healthy snacks around as well so they can have access to good nutrition when needed. 

It may be challenging with busy schedules but it’s important to teach healthy habits early in life- especially if you want your kid to play tennis.

Vegetarian diet for tennis players

vegeterian tennis diet

The vegetarian tennis player diet is a great option for anyone that wants to stay in shape and eat healthy. For many, it’s not much of an adjustment at all but rather just another step toward improving their nutrition.

Do take in mind that because of lack of certain nutritional elements in vegetarian diet, you’ll have to compensate those:

  1. Protein, try some protein powders.
  2. Vitamin D
  3. Calcium
  4. Vitamin B-12
  5. Omega 3
  6. Iron
  7. Zinc
  8. Iodine
  9. Optional: Creatine
  10. Optional: Beta-Alanine

Breakfast for tennis players

The idea is that if players eat breakfast high in carbs then they will feel more energized throughout the day. A good start for any morning is a:

  1. whole-wheat bagel, 
  2. slice of bread, 
  3. scrambled eggs and 
  4. one banana. 

From there on just try not to go over 1/3 of your daily recommended intake as well! Now get those calories flowing through your body because we all know how important they are when playing tennis!

Tips for Parents to Encourage Teens to Eat a Healthy Diet: 

  1. Let your child prepare simple meals
  2. Plan ahead for lunch
  3. Have dinner at home
  4. Keep healthy snacks on hand
  5. Boost nutrients
  6. Be in control of what foods are in the house
  7. Make healthy eating a family affair

Questions and Answers

How do tennis players bulk up?

In order to bulk up as a tennis player, you will have to incorporate weight training into your routine. You can also take in more protein which may help prevent lean muscle loss. Other than that, cardio should be avoided if not adding strength workouts for the muscles being used during the activity.

How many calories do tennis players burn?

Playing tennis is a great way to get in shape, but how many calories are you really burning? If you’re looking for an accurate number that’s actually realistic, then it’s hard to tell. There are between 300 and 700 calories burned per hour playing tennis at different skill levels depending on your weight, age and gender.

What snacks are good for tennis players?

  1. Orange Slices
  2. Peanut Butter Banana
  3. Dried Fruit
  4. Apple Slices
  5. Watermelon slices
  6. Baked Potatoes
  7. Peanut Butter Bagel
  8. Tuna
  9. Cereals

How many calories do pro tennis players eat?

Pro tennis players have a high calorie intake depending on their body weight. The specific figure depends on body weight, but since most tennis players train regularly in pretty much the same intensity levels you could argue that most of them have a total calorie intake of more than 2500.

How many times a day should a tennis player eat?

To play your best, it’s important to eat the right amount of calories for a tennis player. This is 1-2 snacks and 3 meals with 500-800 calories each day. A balanced diet should include healthy carbohydrates, protein and vegetables in order to maintain energy levels throughout the game. 

Remember that eating too many or not enough can affect performance on court!

How much water should a tennis player drink?

The following are hydration tips that can be applied to any sport. It is important for the tennis players to drink liquids before, during and after a match. They should take three or four glasses of fluids before starting their game and they must drink between 150ml every 15-20 minutes while playing matches. 

If you don’t have enough water available, it’s recommended that you consume isotonic drinks in order to replace sodium and electrolytes which will prevent fatigue and poor performance on the court.

When you play tennis, your muscles produce heat that needs to be dissipated. This is done through sweating and evaporating the water on your skin so that it can cool off again. 

The blood carries this heat from the muscle cells to the surface of the body where it is released as sweat or vapor in order for there to be a balance between heat production and removal. 

Your heart rate also increases during physical activity in a match which pumps more oxygen-rich blood around your system, providing essential nutrients and energy while removing waste at an increased rate due to its faster beat. That is why hydration is key to succeed in tennis.

Why do tennis players eat bananas?

The next time you’re looking for a healthy, tasty snack to eat before heading out on the court, grab a banana.

Bananas have long been a favorite food for tennis players because of their natural electrolyte balance, quick energy and muscle-relaxing properties. With the right blend of vitamins, minerals and fiber, bananas are an excellent snack to take with you when traveling or training.

Considering bananas are one of the most accessible and affordable fruits around, they’re a great option for athletes looking to enhance their performance on court without breaking the bank.

Bananas also contain magnesium which helps relax overstressed muscles–a great pre-game ritual!

What should I avoid eating?

  1. Sweets and sugars.
  2. Saturated fats and trans or hydrogenated fats
  3. A lot of salt.
  4. White bread and white pasta..
  5. Industrially canned, precooked, preserved foods, or foods with colorants or preservatives).
  6. Excessive caffeine
  7. Excessive amounts of supplements
  8. Excess alcohol.

Final Thoughts

The most important thing a tennis player can do is to stay hydrated! A player should drink 6-8 glasses of water each day. 

Tennis players also need to eat 3 meals per day, and snacks in between for energy stores. They should avoid sugary drinks like soda or juice because those will lead them towards an unhealthy diet that includes too many calories and not enough nutrients.

A pro may need more calories than the average amateur because they are playing more matches during a given day or week. They also burn through those calories faster, meaning they have less time to recover between games or sets of play.

What are some good foods for a tennis player? Some great choices include bananas, whole grain pasta with vegetables for dinner, oatmeal with milk as breakfast cereal that provides protein and fiber to keep you full longer than cereals without these ingredients; fruits such as applesauce or fruit cups which provide necessary sugars but balance it out by adding vitamins from fruits.

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