What Do Tennis Players Eat?

By Ellie Smith

4 weeks ago

Mid-match staples, from bananas to sushi


We all know how important nutrition is for athletes – particularly so when you’re playing tennis, where matches can go on for hours. So how do players stay fuelled for a tournament like Wimbledon? We did some digging to find out what tennis’ biggest stars eat to keep them at the top of their game. Surprise surprise: it’s not the strawberries and cream the rest of us are tucking into. Here’s a look inside the diets of tennis players.

Inside Tennis Players’ Wimbledon Diets

Bananas

Mid-match, it’s common to see players snacking on a banana. According to the Wimbledon website, 3.30 tonnes of them are consumed by tennis champions throughout the tournament, which amounts to about 30,000 bananas. That’s because this fruit is a good source of energy, and contain high levels of potassium, which helps protect from muscle fatigue and prevents cramping.

Coffee

Wimbledon can be an exhausting week – and turns out tennis stars are partial to a bit of a caffeine boost, too. According to insiders from the Competitors Restaurant, ‘players really, really like their coffee’, and a vast number of espressos are made by the baristas in the players’ bar each day.

Pasta

Pasta

Naturally, tennis players need plenty of carbs to keep their energy levels high, with pasta a staple in many tennis players’ diets. Roger Federer swears by a plate of pasta two hours before every match, cooked with a light sauce. Australian player Coco Gauff, too, enjoys a bowl ahead of each game. ‘Pasta’s always been a part of my life… and it’s been my pre-match meal pretty much since I’ve started tennis,’ she said. Why? ‘The taste is really good, and I think it’s very versatile. It could be the same pasta, but it can be different styles, different cuts, different sauces, different meats, and you get completely different flavors. And it’s the easiest way for me to fuel up.’

Plant-Based Protein

At Wimbledon, more and more players are requesting hot, plant-based protein options – hence why the menu introduced tempeh meatballs last year. And in line with wider trends, 50 percent of the milk used on-site is now oat or coconut. 

Sushi

Pexels

Sushi

Sushi might not be the obvious pre-match dish, but apparently tennis players love it. Andy Murray is a big fan – with a spokesman for the tennis legend once telling The Guardian: ‘Andy’s record is about 50 pieces of sushi in one sitting.’ Serena Williams swears by it too, and Emma Raducanu told National Geographic she has recently switched from pre-match pasta to rice and fish, or sushi. At the Wimbledon tournament, sushi is made by a chef on-site – although players aren’t allowed to eat it mid-match, as demonstrated in a bizarre incident at the Australian Open, when American player Sloane Stevens received a code violation after a Japanese takeaway arrived on the court.

Personal Requests

Although there’s a dedicated menu on offer in the players’ restaurant, the chefs remain open to whatever requests may come in from the sportspeople. ‘We remain flexible during The Championships,’ says Perdita Sedov, Head of Food & Beverage at Wimbledon. ‘From breakfast to dinner, the chefs will make anything at any time if a player requests it.’ The same goes for mid-match cravings too – if a player asks for an emergency protein bar or energy drink, it will be whizzed over to the court.