Throughout an extreme five set tennis match, players can hit more than 1000 groundstrokes and 400 serves leading to muscular fatigue, which is considered both as a cause of performance impairment and an injury risk factor. Tennis coaches and players often notice that strokes quality, tactical choices and running performance decrease with fatigue during long matches. However, the influence of muscular fatigue on ball velocity and serve biomechanics during tennis is unclear. For coaches, physiotherapists and researchers, muscular fatigue could increase joint injury risks. It is believed that fatigue could alter muscular activations, impair serve technique, decrease ranges of motion and consequently increase injury risks.

Studies, publications and presentations

  • C. Martin, B. Bideau, P. Touzard, R. Kulpa. “Identification of serve pacing strategies during 5-set tennis matches”, International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, accepté le 22 septembre 2018, sous presse
  • C. Martin, B. Bideau, P. Delamarche, R. Kulpa. Influence of a prolonged tennis match play on serve biomechanics, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, soumis le 26 mars 2015.
  • C. Martin, B. Bideau, P. Delamarche, R. Kulpa. Influence of a prolonged tennis match play on shoulder ranges of motion, British Journal of Sports Medicine, soumis le 05 mai 2015.
  • C. Martin, B. Bideau, P. Delamarche, R. Kulpa. Influence of a prolonged tennis match play on serve biomechanics, 33rd International Conference on Biomechanics in Sports, 29 juin – 3 juillet 2015, Poitiers, France (oral)
  • C. Martin. Effect of muscular fatigue on serve biomechanics and risk of overuse injuries during prolonged tennis matches, 14th STMS World Congress of Tennis Medicine, 7 – 8 mai 2015, Rome, Italie (oral)

Main Results

A 3-hour tennis match induces local muscular fatigue in several upper limb muscles. This phenomenon causes :

    • decrease in serve ball velocity,
    • decrease in ball impact height,
    • decreases in maximal angular velocities
    • decrease in maximal knee angle flexion
    • decrease in leg drive efficiency
    • increase in rating of perceived exertion score
    • decreases in shoulder ranges of motion
    • increase in shoulder injury risks
3h

Match duration

250

serves

550

groundstrokes

-6 km/h

ball velocity reduction