The Australian Open is in full swing, and while we all marvel at the athleticism of the world’s best tennis players, a top tennis coach has revealed the diet secrets that can help get them through a six-hour marathon match.
Most players on average play 20-30 tournaments per year so they are constantly training and having to give their body the right fuel to maintain energy levels.
After injury cut short his playing career, Marc Sophoulis turned his hand to becoming a coach and has since contributed to the careers of tennis players Anastasia and Arina Rodionova, Monique Adamczak, Romanian Victor Hanescu, Indian Davis Cup player Karan Rastogi and Chinese Davis Cup player Di Wu.
Now the Marc, who has partnered with Blackmores, has shared the diet secrets of tennis players. And it’s surprisingly simple.
Players train between four to six hours a day generally spending two hours on the court and then time in the gym and in recovery. And that is in between the tournaments.
Marc says for tennis players to sustain energy through the whole day they eat five medium sized meals as opposed to three larger meals.
“Bars, fruit, nuts as snacks help sustain those energy levels as well during arduous training sessions,” Marc tells Be.
Another key factor is hydration, especially given the extreme temperatures we’ve been experiencing during the Open.
“Our bodies are made up of 70 per cent water so keeping our hydration stocks up are important for focus and concentration, energy and alertness,” he tells us.
French tennis star Alize Cornet collapsed at the Australian Open just last week when temps in the Melbourne arena soared to 42 degrees.
Pre-match Marc says players aim to eat a main meal high in carbohydrates between two to four hours before hand.
English muffins or toast + cottage cheese + sliced banana + honey
Porridge or bircher muesli with milk or yoghurt + fruit
Sandwiches or wraps or rolls with chicken + salad
Banana, oat, honey, milk or yoghurt + ice smoothie
Post-match, carbohydrates are still important, Marc says, but the focus then shifts to recovery.
“Recovery meals and snacks should contain carbohydrate to re-fuel, protein to repair muscle damage and vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants for the immune system,” he says.
“The quickest recovery will occur if this meal is consumed within 30-60 minutes of finishing a match.”
Banana, berry, spinach, milk, yoghurt + ice smoothie
Flavoured milk + trail mix
Squeeze yoghurt + crackers & cheese
Wrap with chicken, avocado, cheese + salad
Pasta with Bolognese sauce + Salad
Rice + fish + veggies
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