What if a player misses their meal before a match - MensTennisForums.com

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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-24-2013, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
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What if a player misses their meal before a match

Hi all,

I've been wondering about this for a long time. Is it a common occurrence for a player to miss a meal before a match, especially with all the travelling etc....

For me personally if I don't eat properly before I play a match, I will start to feel tired very quickly, might feel slightly faint, and short of breath etc....

The best combination for me before a match is pasta with a piece of red meat.

But I guess professional players are physically trained to be able to compete at a high level even when they are running empty?

Say for example what if Roger Federer has to play a Grand Slam match 2pm in the afternoon, and missed his lunch? Or dinner if it's a night match. I would imagine the result would be catastrophic?

Would love any inputs on this.
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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-24-2013, 09:57 AM
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Re: What if a player misses their meal before a match

Well, if Federer is playing a GS final, he wouldn't be traveling that day, would he? Unless something terrible happened, he'd or any other player deep into a tournament would find time for a meal, even if it is on the run.

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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-24-2013, 10:19 AM
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Re: What if a player misses their meal before a match

What happens if a player eats TOO MUCH before a match?
Wouldn't he get nauseous?

As for not eating,well the human body has a lot of energy reserves and can endure long periods of time without food.When the calories from food are burned it uses glycogen stores from the liver,normally people have a lot of glycogen unless they continuously undereat which can not be the case of elite athletes.Then the body starts a slow and "expensive" breaking down of muscle and fat tissue.
This "shortness of breath,dizzyness" you mention I think indicates that your system is switching from the cheapest,easiest energy source to the more difficult to process - glycogen and your own body's tissues.

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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-24-2013, 10:26 AM
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Re: What if a player misses their meal before a match

Would it really be "catastrophic"? I mean, wouldn't a banana or half of a sandwich suffice?
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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-24-2013, 10:29 AM
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Re: What if a player misses their meal before a match

I'm sure Federer could arrange for his lunch to be brought out court side, if needs be.
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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-24-2013, 11:08 AM
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Re: What if a player misses their meal before a match

LOl, why do people here have a short term memory, this just happened to Simon in the Aussie Open against Monfils.
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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-24-2013, 11:11 AM
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Re: What if a player misses their meal before a match

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I'm sure Federer could arrange for his lunch to be brought out court side, if needs be.
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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-24-2013, 02:00 PM
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Re: What if a player misses their meal before a match

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Originally Posted by MIMIC View Post
Would it really be "catastrophic"? I mean, wouldn't a banana or half of a sandwich suffice?
Of course it could be considered catastrophic. In most cases, players will typically eat an hour or so before competing. So bringing a meal out court side wouldn't exactly be ideal.

In my case, I need to eat every 2 hours or so, even whilst playing tennis, or I begin to feel faint. When your body becomes used to something, it takes a while to adapt and if I were to follow the typical protocol of eating one hour before exercise, I would begin to feel faint within around an hour. Before intense exercise I also normally take in some sort of high fatty food, like nuts and without this my energy levels would certainly be noticeably lower.

To answer your question simply, it would depend on the player but in general circumstances it would certainly be catastrophic in the sense that a players energy levels would be decreased and depending on his diet of the past 24 hours or so, would begin to feel faint relatively quickly. This is also without the psychological effects.
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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-24-2013, 02:01 PM
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Re: What if a player misses their meal before a match

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Originally Posted by The Bulldog View Post
I'm sure Federer could arrange for his lunch to be brought out court side, if needs be.
yes but he would never do it..........your meal must be an hour before the match
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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-24-2013, 02:07 PM
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Re: What if a player misses their meal before a match

Burrow nailed it basically.

I read that Connors liked to eat a big meal a good 2 hours before a match, allowing for digestion, and when he hits the court, he is peaking.

Nastase liked to be "on the verge of hunger" before taking the court, according to his book.

Then you have someone like Rosewall who liked to eat no more than 1 hour before his match, surely he is an ectomorph. Then you have Laver or Tilden who would have no problem scarfing down a big meal 30 mins or less before a match

Tilden even said, of eating steak and potatoes just before a match: "Better to be full and sluggish at the start of the match and have energy for the duration, than to come too empty, play well at the start, but wilt during the peak of the match."

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post #11 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-24-2013, 03:15 PM
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Re: What if a player misses their meal before a match

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Originally Posted by Saberq View Post
yes but he would never do it..........your meal must be an hour before the match
are you sure, must be 2 or 3 hours before the match. You cant play with full stomach.
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post #12 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-24-2013, 03:22 PM
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Re: What if a player misses their meal before a match

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are you sure, must be 2 or 3 hours before the match. You cant play with full stomach.
I always eat 1 hour before training
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post #13 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-24-2013, 03:24 PM
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When I played soccer, I found eating 90-120 minutes before the match was optimal for me. By then I wasn't hungry yet my stomach had had time to digest almost everything. And like some said, it takes some time for the blood sugar to peak.

And in the few cases I had no time to eat properly, I made sure I ate at least something, fruit or sandwiches etc. I'm sure the pros do the same if they are forced to. That extra glucose does a lot.

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post #14 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-24-2013, 03:30 PM
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Re: What if a player misses their meal before a match

He could always eat a bagel or a breadstick

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post #15 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-24-2013, 03:50 PM
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Re: What if a player misses their meal before a match

90-120 minutes sounds right to me as well.


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