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Eat to Win – Improve your tennis with a healthy and balanced diet


It goes without saying, a balanced diet is the best way to stay healthy. Eating well reduces the risk of developing diseases and increases your energy levels and wellbeing. While a healthy, balanced diet is of benefit to everyone, it’s invaluable for athletes. And tennis players are no exception. In tennis, many aspects of the game – practicing, preparing for a match, playing a match, and recovering after the match or training – are influenced by what you eat.

Are you looking to improve your game and wellbeing? Great! In this article you will learn about the perfect daily diet for tennis players. Next month we will discuss pre-match, during the match and post-match diets.

Foods of a healthy and balanced diet

Tennis is a physically demanding a sport – matches can sometimes be very long and exhausting. Practicing will improve your game but eating properly is as important as your performance on and off the court. While nutrition plans should be personalized to meet the needs of each player, there are some general rules that can help any tennis player to perform better. As a general rule, a balanced diet for tennis players should include carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, minerals and vitamins, and fluids. These ingredients influence performance, delay feelings of fatigue and reduce injuries and illnesses. Also, a good rule of thumb for tennis players is to eat “real” food that are fresh and minimally processed.


  • Carbohydrates are one of the most important sources of energy for tennis players. However, it is important to eat the right type of carbohydrates. Good options are whole-wheat pasta and bread, oatmeal and brown rice. White bread, pastries and other products high in sugar should be avoided.


  • Protein plays an important role in building up and maintaining a tennis player’s health. Tennis players need more protein than the average people. Protein helps you to maintain your muscle mass and promotes muscle growth when you do strength training. Eggs, almonds, chicken breasts, oats, cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, and lean beef are some good protein sources for tennis players.

Healthy fats

  • 20%-35% of your daily calories should come from healthy fat. Fat plays an important role by providing energy and by helping in the conservation of carbohydrates. Nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, salmon, fatty fishes, natural peanut butter are good examples of healthy fats. A player should try to avoid bacon, packaged desserts, and butter.

Minerals and vitamins

A healthy tennis player’s diet includes vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin C found in high amounts in peppers and citrus fruits helps in muscle repair.
  • Studies have shown that 20 mg of zinc a day can improve hand-eye coordination. Food that contains zinc include oysters, pumpkin seeds, whole grains, sunflower seeds, animal proteins, beans, nuts, and almonds.
  • Vitamin A found in carrots helps the body fix micro tears in muscles, as it helps to make new white blood cells.
  • Calcium promotes bone development, good nerve and muscle function. Calcium is found in dairy foods like yoghurt, plus almonds, some fish, and some dark green leafy vegetables.
  • Iron transports oxygen around the body and is found in red meat, mollusks, pumpkin seeds, nuts, and whole grains.
  • Vitamin B, improves reaction times, as it is a neurotransmitter. Vitamin B is found in meat, eggs, dairy product, whole grains, potatoes, bananas, and chili peppers.
  • DMAE:Dimethylaminoethanol is found in certain fish. This brain food is a neurotransmitter, which helps messages move across your nerves and brain and is required for remembering tactics, techniques, and course sequences. Good natural sources of DMAE are salmon, sardines, and anchovies.
  • Antioxidants protect against oxidative stress in the body, which can damage cells. Antioxidants are found in berries, other fruits and vegetables, green tea.


  • Drinking water is important, but too much actually flushes nutrients from our system. What you need is 8 to 10 cups daily either of water or equivalent hydrating beverages.

Choose the right products

We should all aim to eat healthy, but for top athletes it’s a vital part of their training process. Have you ever wondered what some of the top tennis players eat to stay fit and perform well? For instance, did you know that Rafael Nadal loves seafood? He eats a lot of fish and paella if he is not about to play his matches. Apparently, it’s his mother who cooks the best paella. He often has olives included in his daily diet and, of course, chocolate, but not too much! Nadal also enjoys shrimp dumplings, and he eats them whenever possible. The Spaniard also eats pasta regularly along with shrimp and mushrooms.

Planning your meals, choosing the right products, staying hydrated and avoiding processed foods will already take you far. You don’t need to shop far or visit alternative stores to find healthy food – most healthy foods are found at your local supermarket.

If you are a seafood lover like Nadal, it is worth visiting the award-winning fresh fish counter at Citymarket Sello in Leppävaara. It’s a seafood lover’s dream with a good selection of fresh fish and seafood. For instance, try out this delicious pike-perch recipe by Citymarket Sello’s Kala Kimmo.

Kannata & Kerrytä Campaign

By doing your shopping at Citymarket Sello you will be supporting our top Finnish tennis players and kids’ tennis. Becoming a supporter is easy, simply:


Learn more about the “Kannata & Kerrytä” campaign 

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