What to Eat Before A Tennis Match

Best Pre-Match Foods & Snacks For Tennis Players

What to Eat Before a Match

In tennis, proper nutrition and eating right is crucial to performing at a high level. One of the questions often asked by beginner and experienced tennis players is, “What should I eat before a tennis match?”

It’s a great question and one that many players struggle to answer.

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What to Eat

Atlanta based Nutri Fit Sport Therapy Inc. says, “A diet rich in complex carbohydrates is the key to performance and endurance. Carbohydrates fuel high-intensity work, which correlates to the energy required for serving, traversing the court and returning the ball. Muscles store carbohydrates as glycogen, and consuming small amounts of carbs on a regular basis ensures maintenance of maximum glycogen levels.”

As a result, they recommend selecting pre-match meals and snacks that are:

  • Familiar and known to settle hunger
  • High in carbohydrate to supply energy for muscle reserves
  • Moderate in protein and low in fat
  • Quickly digested (not too high in fiber or fat)
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Snack Ideas

Here are some of the best pre-match foods and snacks for tennis players:

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Dried apricots
  • Raisins
  • Oatmeal
  • Bagels
  • Pasta with a little butter
  • 100% wholegrain bread
  • Reduced-fat fruit yogurt
  • English muffins
  • Whole wheat pita bread
  • Granola bars
  • Whole wheat crackers

Eating before a tennis match can also help prevent low blood sugar, which can sometimes lead to light-headedness and fatigue.

Nutrition researcher Patrick Owen Ph.D. believes one of the biggest challenges is, “knowing how much food you can eat pre-match… Some people can eat a full meal an hour before a rigorous workout, while others with more sensitive stomachs might have to wait three to four hours.”

However, Dr. Owen also mentions that “In general, a meal that is around 500-600 calories and is eaten by a 180-pound man two to three hours before a workout should be fine. Smaller snacks of 300 calories or less can be eaten one hour pre-workout, but you should experiment with the timing and meal size to suit your individual needs.”

Wrapping Up

Ultimately, what and when you choose to eat before a tennis match can make a big difference in your ability to perform. So take the extra time to plan your pre-match food and snacks to make sure you can go the distance and compete hard in your next match.

Are there other foods that you have found beneficial or helpful to eat before a tennis match? If so, please share in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Steve Hopson

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5 replies
  1. behrad khalaf
    behrad khalaf says:

    by the way, whole wheat stuff that you have proposed are completely different from Gluten-free diet which Novak advised in “Serve to Win”.

    Reply
    • TennisCompanion
      TennisCompanion says:

      Hi Behrad,

      Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your ideas on pre-match snacks!

      I think nuts are a great option – my favorite are almonds, and I’ve absolutely had these as a pre-match snack in the past so feeling silly I left these out. One of my favorites in college was actually trail mix. It never felt too heavy in my stomach and was super easy to toss in my bag.

      As for Novak’s gluten-free diet, I think it’s awesome that he was able to uncover his celiac allergy. However, I think it’s important to note that not everyone has an allergic reaction or sensitivity to gluten. From what I’ve learned from sites like celiac.org, this celiac disease only affects about 1% of the population, so gluten based diets, snack, and meals still are great options for the vast majority of players.

      All the best,
      Jon

      Reply
    • TennisCompanion
      TennisCompanion says:

      Thanks so much!! I really appreciate you taking a moment to share your feedback and I’m super happy you’re finding my articles useful. Let me know if there’s anything else you’d love to learn about – I’m always working on new topics to bring to the community. All the best, Jon!

      Reply

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