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A Comparison of the Activity Profile and Physiological Demands Between Advanced and Recreational Veteran Tennis Players

Fernandez-Fernandez, Jaime1; Sanz-Rivas, David1; Sanchez-Muñoz, Cristobal2; Pluim, Babette M3; Tiemessen, Ivo4; Mendez-Villanueva, Alberto5

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: March 2009 - Volume 23 - Issue 2 - p 604-610
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318194208a
Original Research

Fernandez-Fernandez, J, Sanz-Rivas, D, Sanchez-Muñoz, C, Pluim, BM, Tiemessen, I, and Mendez-Villanueva, A. A comparison of the activity profile and physiological demands between advanced and recreational veteran tennis players. J Strength Cond Res 23(2): 604-610, 2009-The aim of the study was to examine whether differences in playing level influence the activity profile and physiological demands of advanced and recreational veteran men's tennis players during an hour of tennis match play. Ten advanced (International Tennis Number [ITN] 3-5, 45.3 ± 5.1 years) and 10 recreational (ITN 7-9, 44.8 ± 4.7 years) veteran men's tennis players participated in 4 experimental sessions: (1) an ITN on-court assessment, (2) a laboratory incremental treadmill test, (3) an hour of simulated tennis match play, and (4) 30 minutes of tennis match play using a portable gas analyzer. Subjects' o2 and heart rate (HR) were recorded by portable analyzers. Moreover, energy expenditure was evaluated by indirect calorimetry. Temporal structure and distance covered were determined from video recordings. Subjects' o2 (24.5 ± 4.1 vs. 23.3 ± 3 ml·kg−1·min−1), HR (148.3 ± 11.5 vs. 149.8 ± 8.4 bpm), duration of rallies (DR) (6.3 ± 4.1 vs. 7.6 ± 5.5 seconds), and effective playing time (EPT) (21.7 ± 5.0 vs. 23.6 ± 5.4%), HR (148.3 ± 11.5 vs. 149.8 ± 8.4 bpm), and energy expenditure (263.1 ± 49.4 and 281.3 ± 61.8 kcal·min−1) during play did not differ significantly (p > 0.05) between advanced and recreational players. The advanced players covered significantly more meters than the recreational players during their 1-hour tennis matches (mean ± SD: 3568.8 ± 532.2 vs. 3173.8 ± 226 m, p < 0.01) at lower running speeds. The results indicate that, independently of ability, tennis match play satisfies the American College of Sports Medicine recommendations for quantity and quality of exercise for the development and maintenance of cardiovascular fitness in healthy adults and seems to be a viable and highly popular mode of healthy activity.

1Tennis Performance Research Group, Spanish Tennis Federation (RFET), Barcelona, Spain; 2Faculty of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, University of Granada, Granada, Spain; 3Royal Netherlands Lawn Tennis Association, Amersfoort, The Netherlands; 4Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; and 5ASPIRE, Academy for Sports Excellence, Doha, Qatar

Address correspondence to Jaime Fernandez-Fernandez,

© 2009 National Strength and Conditioning Association