Physical demands of tennis across the different court surfaces, performance levels, and sexes: a systematic review with meta-analysis: A Systematic Review with Meta-analysis

Babette M Pluim, Marleen G T Jansen, Samuel Williamson, Cain Berry, Silvia Camporesi, Kristina Fagher, Neil Heron, Dina C Janse van Rensburg, Víctor Moreno-Pérez, Andrew Murray, Seán R O'Connor, Fábio C L de Oliveira, Machar Reid, Miriam van Reijen, Tobias Saueressig, Linda J Schoonmade, Jane S Thornton, Nick Webborn, Clare L Ardern

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
46 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background
Tennis is a multidirectional high-intensity intermittent sport for male and female individuals played across multiple surfaces. Although several studies have attempted to characterise the physical demands of tennis, a meta-analysis is still lacking.

Objective
We aimed to describe and synthesise the physical demands of tennis across the different court surfaces, performance levels and sexes.

Methods
PubMed, Embase, CINAHL and SPORTDiscus were searched from inception to 19 April, 2022. A backward citation search was conducted for included articles using Scopus. The PECOS framework was used to formulate eligibility criteria. Population: tennis players of regional, national or international playing levels (juniors and adults). Exposure: singles match play. Comparison: sex (male/female), court surface (hard, clay, grass). Outcome: duration of play, on-court movement and stroke performance. Study design: cross-sectional, longitudinal. Pooled means or mean differences with 95% confidence intervals were calculated. A random-effects meta-analysis with robust variance estimation was performed. The measures of heterogeneity were Cochrane Q and 95% prediction intervals. Subgroup analysis was used for different court surfaces.

Results
The literature search generated 7736 references; 64 articles were included for qualitative and 42 for quantitative review. Mean [95% confidence interval] rally duration, strokes per rally and effective playing time on all surfaces were 5.5 s [4.9, 6.3], 4.1 [3.4, 5.0] and 18.6% [15.8, 21.7] for international male players and 6.4 s [5.4, 7.6], 3.9 [2.4, 6.2] and 20% [17.3, 23.3] for international female players. Mean running distances per point, set and match were 9.6 m [7.6, 12.2], 607 m [443, 832] and 2292 m [1767, 2973] (best-of-5) for international male players and 8.2 m [4.4, 15.2], 574 m [373, 883] and 1249 m [767, 2035] for international female players. Mean first- and second-serve speeds were 182 km·h−1 [178, 187] and 149 km·h−1 [135, 164] for international male players and 156 km·h−1 95% confidence interval [151, 161] and 134 km·h−1 [107, 168] for international female players.

Conclusions
The findings from this study provide a comprehensive summary of the physical demands of tennis. These results may guide tennis-specific training programmes. We recommend more consistent measuring and reporting of data to enable future meta-analysts to pool meaningful data.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSports Medicine
Early online date08 Feb 2023
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 08 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.

Keywords

  • tennis
  • physical demands
  • court types

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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