Applied physiology of tennis

Sports Med. 1992 Oct;14(4):260-8. doi: 10.2165/00007256-199214040-00004.


Studies in anthropometry showed that more research is needed in the area of physical development and its relationship to playing tennis. Muscle activity patterns have been studied for the different strokes, although more data are available relative to the service. During the service, skilled tennis players were found to display more consistent muscular activity with shorter periods of activation, implying a higher level of coordination than less skilled players. In profiling players, positive correlations were found between tournament play and a number of fitness parameters. More research is needed to develop assessment measures that are tennis specific. Also, longitudinal studies will provide greater insight into player profiles. The general consensus on fitness development was that tennis players should incorporate flexibility, strength and endurance training in their programmes to minimise asymmetry and injuries, while simultaneously enhancing performance. Tennis was found to have both aerobic and anaerobic components, with the predominant energy supply coming from phosphagen energy system. These findings suggest training programmes should be designed specific to the actual energy and muscular demands of the game. The need for further research in all areas certainly still exists in order to gain a better understanding of the game.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry
  • Humans
  • Muscles / physiology
  • Physical Fitness
  • Tennis / physiology*