I had a wonderful day on Wednesday at Wimbledon watching the men’s quarter finals, with a close match that ended with Djokovic (who is interestingly said to follow a gluten free diet) outclassing Cilic, followed by the 19 year old Australian Kyrgios putting up a good fight against the powerful Raonic.
It was a perfect day 28 degrees and sunny, the crowds were in great form and the steady flow of refreshments and traditional strawberries and cream made sure everyone was smiling from start to finish. The only disappointment of the day was Andy Murray getting knocked out of the tournament, or ‘crashing out’ as reported in the press. Although I didn’t see Murray play the crowd were kept up to date with progress via the scoreboard and we could hear the cheers and groans from those watching on the big screen outside court one.
Andy Murray is reported to have said last year that he had tried the gluten free diet that had transformed Djokovic’s health and fitness, but it made him feel weak and although Andy is said to follow a healthy diet, his focus is getting his training right, rather than following any specific nutrition guidelines. Despite Andy’s premature exit, we mustn’t forget that he is currently Great Britain’s most successful tennis player and last years Wimbledon’s win ended our 76 year wait for a male Grand Slam champion.
Having read in the press about what this year players have been eating I’ve searched for journal articles focusing on the optimum diet for professional tennis players and I found the following guidelines:
1. Following a high carbohydrate diet (8-10g, per kg of body weight, per day) ensures adequate glycogen stores.
2. Protein intake during high intensity tournaments should be approx 1.7g per kg of body weight, per day.
3. Fat should be restricted to 1g per kg of body weight, per day.
These guidelines confirm the importance of increasing carb intake before and during a tournament to ensure the body has sufficient fuel to maximise performance.
As a nutrition student I can’t stress enough the importance of eating a well balanced diet, and would encourage all professional sports men and women to seek professional help to determine what they should be eating, to help rather than hinder their performance.
Federer is the favourite to win tomorrow’s final but having seen Djokovic play and his athleticism I think we are in for a real battle. I will definitely be applying for Wimbledon tickets again next year and who knows maybe if Andy Murray can once again triumph, I could be there to watch.
Reference: Ranchordas, M.K. Rogerson, D., Ruddick, A., Killer, S.C & Winter, E.M. (2013) Nutrition for tennis: practical recommendations. Journal of Sport Science and Medicine 12 211-224