Ever wondered what does the top tennis players’ diets include? What do Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and others eat that allows them to perform at their peak levels all throughout the season? How do they maintain their energy throughout the match and how do they stay hydrated?
There are a lot of things that go into making a complete player out of anybody. Things that go on behind the scenes are often taken for granted. A proper diet and food-routine is an important aspect of a tennis player’s career and many younger players ignore this aspect of the game.
Off-the-court activities, like fitness training, proper diets, good cool-down, and recovery techniques and stretching exercises – all contribute a significant percentage in a player’s ability to perform on the court.
A balanced diet is a vital dimension of a sportsperson’s life. Today we look at some of the top tennis players’ diets, like Roger Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic, and their food routines.
Top Tennis Players’ Diet – ATP
Meat, pasta, and potatoes are a staple for any Tennis players’ diet. Surprisingly, several top male players love chocolate. Of course, Djokovic’s diet remains the most unique on the tour as he follows a gluten-free diet. This is because he was diagnosed with a gluten allergy early in his career.
We all know Federer loves pizza. However, for the past 20 years, the maestro has been having only one dish before he heads into a match – pasta. Roger says that pasta has worked wonderfully for him throughout his career and he has not felt the need to shift to other alternatives. Hence, pasta is an integral part of Roger Federer’s diet.
Roger Federer’s favorite snack is chocolate. He prefers to gorge on them whenever he can. During the matches, he has chocolate-flavored energy bars and bananas. During his breakfast, Federer prefers home-made waffles, after which he has a glass of fresh juice and some coffee to wash down the breakfast. He often ends his breakfast with a shot of vinegar.
During his dinner, however, Roger Federer prefers to have spicy food, opting to go with Italian, Japanese or Indian cuisines. Apart from chocolate, Roger Federer also spoils himself with fonduta, which is an Italian version of Swiss fondue that has milk, butter, cheese, and egg yolk in it. Apart from that he also prefers raclette which is a cheese that melts smoothly when heated and is then scraped onto a plate.
In the section of diet followed by top players, Rafa’s eating habits can be classified as optimum. Nadal loves seafood. He almost always has fish and paella if he is not about to play his matches. However, he avoids eating it too much as he cannot play much after. He often has olives included in his daily diet and, of course, chocolate in limited quantity.
Nadal’s diet also includes shrimp dumplings and he eats them whenever he gets an opportunity to. The Spaniard also eats pasta regularly along with shrimp and mushrooms. To cut loose, he often eats cakes and chocolates.
During the matches, he prefers banana as his predominant go-to option along with isotonic energy drinks, which he prefers to arrange in a perfect alignment beside his chair.
Novak Djokovic’s diet has been gluten-free since 2010. He starts his day with a breakfast filled with sweetness. Honey, fruits and an oat-based cereal mix is a fixed routine in Djokovic’s diet. The diet is filled with glucose and fructose and the sugar found in the fruits. He also mixes it up sometimes with green and fresh vegetables.
For his lunch, the Serb has Power Bowl Muesli made out of gluten-free rolled oats, dried cranberries, golden raisins, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds and finally some sliced almonds. Along with this, he has rice or almond milk and bananas with berries or sliced apples.
Before the match, he prefers pasta with olive oil and garlic cloves. He also adds yellow summer squash, zucchini, asparagus, some sun-dried tomatoes, and some vegan cheese in his pasta.
After his matches, he prefers a protein-rich diet, often preferring fish or Sea Bass with Mango and Papaya Salsa. He also has Carrot Ginger Soup along with his dinner. He prefers Blueberry Almond Butter Smoothies his favorite snack. Ideally, his eating habits could be claimed as the best diet for tennis players.
Top Tennis Players’ Diets – WTA
Pasta figures as a major favorite among all Tennis players as it absorbs into the body quickly and provides the necessary energy before matches. Departing from the meat-rich diet for many players, some of them have found a way to reduce their dependency on meat.
Caroline Wozniacki’s favorite food, believe it or not, is broccoli. The Dane prefers a lunch that has plenty of veggies in it, with some chicken, and a little bit of rice to complete the diet. If she gets bored with broccoli, she mixes up her diet with spinach and asparagus.
Pancakes are one of her favorites for breakfast and if she is not scheduled to play a match anytime soon, she loves to gulp down vanilla ice cream and warm chocolate cake.
Before any match, she almost always has pasta, as it absorbs easily and converts into energy in almost no time. During the match, some energy bars, bananas, as well as her German energy drink to stay hydrated and recover the lost potassium.
After a match, during her cool-down period, she prefers a drink rich in nutrients, preferably in a strawberry flavor. After the post-match stretching, she lays into a heavy dinner which includes turkey, chicken, and/or steak along with rice and potatoes.
This regular top 5 player in the WTA singles rankings has a strict diet during her time off-court. She likes seafood, prefers to eat sushi most of the time, although limiting it strictly to California rolls. Pasta, of course, is included in her diet as a regular dish, it can be termed as the best dish for tennis players. However, she prefers it without any cream sauce – just plain pasta with olive oil and a little bit of parmesan on occasions.
She keeps herself well hydrated with the right dose of water and her preferred energy drink. She also munches down bananas and energy bars during the matches to regain the lost energy. After the match, Halep loves to spoil herself on pizzas.
While it is important to take inspiration to form the top tennis players’ diets, one must always keep in mind that everyone has different bodies and different systems in place. One must not be afraid to experiment and observe the results and have their own diets. Watch out for how your body responds!