Why Tennis Players Are So Skinny – The Solid Truth

Tennis is a sport that requires a lot of movement and agility on the court. One of the most noticeable things about tennis players is their lean and skinny physique. This has led many people to wonder why tennis players are so skinny.

While there is no one definitive answer to this question, there are several factors that contribute to the lean body type of tennis players. One reason is that tennis is a sport that requires a lot of endurance and agility. Having too much muscle mass can actually hinder a player’s ability to move quickly on the court, so many players opt for a leaner physique that allows them to move more efficiently.

Another reason why tennis players are so skinny is that the sport itself is a great calorie burner. Tennis can be played for hours at a time, and players are constantly moving and exerting themselves. This means that they are burning a lot of calories during each match, which can help them maintain a lean physique. In addition to this, many tennis players follow strict diets and workout regimens in order to stay in top physical shape and perform at their best on the court.

The Physiology of Tennis Players

Muscle vs. Fat

One of the reasons why tennis players are so skinny is that they have a low body fat percentage. Tennis is a sport that requires quick movements and agility, and carrying excess weight can hinder a player’s performance. However, it’s important to note that being skinny doesn’t necessarily mean that tennis players lack muscle mass. In fact, tennis players have well-developed muscles in their legs, core, and upper body, which help them to generate power and move quickly on the court.


Tennis is a high-intensity, aerobic sport that requires a lot of energy. Tennis players need to be able to sustain their energy levels throughout a match, which can last for several hours. This is where metabolism comes into play. Tennis players have a high metabolic rate, which means that their bodies are able to convert food into energy quickly and efficiently. This allows them to maintain their energy levels and perform at a high level throughout the match.

Energy Expenditure

Tennis players burn a lot of calories during a match. According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, a professional tennis player can burn up to 800 calories per hour of play. This is due to the combination of aerobic and anaerobic activity involved in tennis. Tennis players need to be able to move quickly, change direction, and generate power, all of which require a lot of energy.

In addition to burning calories during a match, tennis players also expend energy during training. Tennis players typically engage in a variety of training activities, including cardio, strength training, and agility drills. All of these activities require energy, which is why tennis players need to consume a lot of calories to fuel their bodies.

Why Tennis Players Are So Skinny

Read Also: Is Tennis a Team Sport

The Importance of Diet and Nutrition

Caloric Intake

Tennis players require a significant amount of energy to perform at their best. The average player requires a minimum of approximately 2,500 calories per day, although some players may require in excess of 3,000 calories. Professional players are predicted to need between 3,500 to 5,000 calories per day.

It is essential for tennis players to consume enough calories to fuel their bodies and maintain their energy levels throughout the day. However, it is equally important to ensure that they are consuming the right types of foods to provide their bodies with the nutrients they need to perform at their best.


Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are the three macronutrients that provide the body with energy. Tennis players require a balance of all three to perform at their best.

Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy and should make up the majority of a tennis player’s diet. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are excellent sources of carbohydrates. It’s best to choose complex carbohydrates that are high in fiber and release energy slowly throughout the day.

Protein is essential for building and repairing muscles, which is especially important for tennis players who are constantly putting their bodies under stress. Lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, and fish are excellent choices. It is recommended that players consume an easy-to-digest form of protein within 30 minutes after tennis play to help build and repair muscles.

Fats are also an important source of energy for the body. However, make sure to choose healthy fats such as those found in nuts, seeds, and avocados, rather than saturated and trans fats found in processed foods.


In addition to macronutrients, tennis players also require a range of micronutrients to support their overall health and performance. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals, which are essential for a range of bodily functions.

Players should focus on consuming a varied and well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables to ensure they are getting all the micronutrients they need. Supplements may also be useful for players who struggle to get all the necessary micronutrients from their diet alone.

Training and Conditioning

Tennis players are known for their lean and slender physiques, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work hard to maintain their fitness. Here are some of the key training and conditioning techniques that tennis players use to stay in top shape.

Cardiovascular Training

Cardiovascular training is essential for tennis players, as it helps to improve endurance and stamina on the court. Tennis is a fast-paced sport that requires players to move quickly and constantly change direction, so building cardiovascular fitness is crucial. Many tennis players incorporate running, cycling, or swimming into their training routines to improve their cardiovascular fitness.

Interval training is also a popular technique among tennis players, as it involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by periods of rest. This type of training can help to improve their fitness and endurance, and can be particularly useful for tennis players who need to be able to maintain a high level of intensity for extended periods of time.

Strength and Resistance Training

While tennis players may not need to bulk up like bodybuilders, strength and resistance training is still an essential part of their training routine. Building strength can help to improve power and speed on the court, as well as reduce the risk of injury. Many tennis players incorporate exercises such as squats, lunges, and push-ups into their training routines to build strength and endurance.

Resistance bands are also a popular tool among tennis players, as they can be used to target specific muscle groups and improve overall strength. These bands are lightweight and portable, making them easy to use both on and off the court.

It’s important for tennis players to work with a qualified trainer or coach when developing a strength and resistance training program, as improper technique can increase the risk of injury.

Genetics and Body Type

Tennis players come in all shapes and sizes, but there are some body types that are more common among successful players. According to Matt’s Point, there are three main somatotypes: ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs.

Ectomorphs are generally thinner individuals with smaller bone structures, shorter limbs, and faster metabolisms. They have a lower propensity for gaining muscle mass and a higher tolerance for carbohydrates.

Mesomorphs are more muscular and athletic, with a medium bone structure and a higher propensity for gaining muscle mass. While, Endomorphs are generally larger individuals with a higher propensity for gaining fat.

Most successful tennis players are ectomorphs or mesomorphs, which allows them to move quickly and easily around the court. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Rafael Nadal, for example, is known for his muscular build and powerful shots. Despite his larger size, he has been able to achieve great success on the court.

Genetics also play a role in a tennis player’s body type. Some players may have a genetic predisposition for being thin or muscular, which can give them an advantage on the court. However, it’s best to keep in mind that genetics are not the only factor that determines a player’s body type. Diet, exercise, and other lifestyle factors can also play a role.


Tennis players are known for their lean and skinny physiques, which allow them to move quickly and maintain endurance on the court. While there may be several factors that contribute to their slimness, such as genetics and diet, it is clear that their training and playing regimen play a significant role.

Through rigorous training and conditioning, tennis players develop strong and toned muscles that are essential for their performance. However, they also focus on maintaining a low body mass index, which allows them to move quickly and efficiently on the court. This is achieved through a combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise, such as cardio and strength training.

While there may be various reasons why tennis players are so skinny, it is clear that their training and lifestyle choices play a significant role. By focusing on a healthy diet, regular exercise, and cross-training activities, they are able to maintain their lean physiques while also performing at their best on the court.

Recent Posts