The physical demands of tournament tennis players can be and usually are very grueling. The body is using both anaerobic and aerobic metabolism along with anaerobic and aerobic muscle fiber types. Tennis is a high intensity sport requiring hundreds of short bursts of activity. Most points only last around 10 seconds(anaerobic) but there is only 25 seconds of rest in between points and 90 seconds of rest in between games which requires the player to have endurance(aerobic). Tennis matches can be long and drawn out, lasting hours or they can be fast, intense and only last an hour. This means having adequate nutrition along with an efficient metabolism is key to being able to compete at the highest level.
Ferrauti et al did a research study on top level tennis players. Their study was to see how blood glucose levels fluctuated over the course of multiple tournaments and practice matches, as well as to verify how many of these tennis players encountered hypoglycemia as a result of playing too much and not getting adequate nutrition to keep blood glucose levels balanced. Ferrauti et al interviewed 147 tournament tennis players. Their purpose was to find out how many of those athletes experienced hypoglycemic symptoms. Of the 147 male tennis players, 94 of them confirmed that they had encountered hypoglycemic symptoms. That means that over half of the players had decreases in their blood glucose levels. This study had the players play one singles match and one doubles under tournament conditions and practice conditions.
Glucose consumption in the tissues and glucose production are balanced when the body is at rest. At the start of exercising the energy the body gets quickly is from the anaerobic metabolism using mostly muscle glycogen as the main source of energy. The muscle starts to take in a high amount of glucose early during exercise depending on the level of intensity. As the duration of exercise is prolonged the muscles will continue to have a high intake of glucose. If the body does not have adequate nutrients then hypoglycemia will occur. It is not surprising that over half the tennis players that were interviewed had symptoms of hypoglycemia considering tennis matches vary substantially the amount of time spent on the court as well as off the court in between matches. For tennis, endurance training is a big step towards lowering an athlete’s risk of exercise induced hypoglycemia.
Ferrauti et al found that after 90 minutes of tennis match play, under practice conditions, that there was a large increase in blood glucose levels. Two hours later the blood glucose levels had either stayed the same or increased. After three hours of play, Mitchell et al. discovered that there was a small decrease in glucose levels. After four hours of interrupted match play without energy supplementation, it was recorded that blood glucose had dropped by about 16%. The match had 30 minutes of rest after 150 minutes of play. Nutritional intake was recorded, not...