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

What if a player misses their meal before a match

mikeqq
03-24-2013, 10:40 AM
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.

TheWire93
03-24-2013, 10:57 AM
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.

Ivelina_P
03-24-2013, 11:19 AM
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.

MIMIC
03-24-2013, 11:26 AM
Would it really be "catastrophic"? I mean, wouldn't a banana or half of a sandwich suffice?

The Prince
03-24-2013, 11:29 AM
I'm sure Federer could arrange for his lunch to be brought out court side, if needs be. :p

dencod16
03-24-2013, 12:08 PM
LOl, why do people here have a short term memory, this just happened to Simon in the Aussie Open against Monfils.

Federer in 2
03-24-2013, 12:11 PM
I'm sure Federer could arrange for his lunch to be brought out court side, if needs be. :p

This.

Burrow
03-24-2013, 03:00 PM
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.

Saberq
03-24-2013, 03:01 PM
I'm sure Federer could arrange for his lunch to be brought out court side, if needs be. :p

yes but he would never do it..........your meal must be an hour before the match

Johnny Groove
03-24-2013, 03:07 PM
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 :eek:

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."

A_Skywalker
03-24-2013, 04:15 PM
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.

Saberq
03-24-2013, 04:22 PM
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

Orka_n
03-24-2013, 04:24 PM
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.

Time Violation
03-24-2013, 04:30 PM
He could always eat a bagel or a breadstick

Looner
03-24-2013, 04:50 PM
90-120 minutes sounds right to me as well.

Puschkin
03-24-2013, 04:51 PM
What I find difficult is to plan your meals during rain delays about which you do not know how long they will last or how you deal with your meals when your match starts much earlier then envisaged due to a retirement.

latso
03-24-2013, 05:27 PM
for GSs it obviously is an important question, but for best of 3 matches an hour too late or too early wouldn't change almost anything for the player's quality of play.

Energy bars and energy drinks are made for this, when you feel some lack of energy to add some as fast as possible, so the only problem would be if you eat right before your match, but no athlete would over eat even off season, what to say around an upcoming match.

Travod
03-24-2013, 06:06 PM
Mr. Simon has missed dinner... perhaps a chocolate bar?

Topspindoctor
03-24-2013, 06:16 PM
Last year's Halle incident is what happens when Nalbandian doesn't have a Big Mac before the match


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Bobby
03-24-2013, 06:24 PM
Last year's Halle incident is what happens when Nalbandian doesn't have a Big Mac before the match


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Nalbandian played in Queens. Nevertheless, your joke sucks anyway.

Roy Emerson
03-24-2013, 06:54 PM
Big dish of pasta with white meat 2 hrs. before playing.

Henry Chinaski
03-24-2013, 09:31 PM
it's unlikely to be "catastrophic" at all.

they might feel the effects in a long match and it might hinder their recovery but I'm sure any player can easily get through a standard 2 hour match in normal conditions on various bananas, energy drinks and gels if they really have to.

Mr. Oracle
03-24-2013, 09:55 PM
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.

Considering they are pros, I cannot begin to imagine how they could fail to miss a meal at the appropriate time during game day. Only reason to do so is because of illness, in which case they probably shouldn't be playing anyway.

I agree with the meal timed early enough to be fully digested theory. With a good serving of whole-wheat pasta, and just of bit of protein, I can run like the wind blows, like forrest gump.

Burrow
03-24-2013, 09:55 PM
it's unlikely to be "catastrophic" at all.

they might feel the effects in a long match and it might hinder their recovery but I'm sure any player can easily get through a standard 2 hour match in normal conditions on various bananas, energy drinks and gels if they really have to.

Depends on your interpretation of the word. If it is defined as a consistent decrease in performance then it's very possible.

We can go into the science of it all day long, but people have their habits and what might work for someone in the form of gels and fluids might not sit well with everyone.

Tennis is a sport which obviously requires several components of motor fitness, so the slightest ill feeling can really take its toll and I wouldn't be surprised if during many of the uninspired matches over the years players haven't felt quite right and put in poor performances as a result with a lackluster and carefree attitude.

Mr. Oracle
03-24-2013, 10:15 PM
Depends on your interpretation of the word. If it is defined as a consistent decrease in performance then it's very possible.

We can go into the science of it all day long, but people have their habits and what might work for someone in the form of gels and fluids might not sit well with everyone.

Tennis is a sport which obviously requires several components of motor fitness, so the slightest ill feeling can really take its toll and I wouldn't be surprised if during many of the uninspired matches over the years players haven't felt quite right and put in poor performances as a result with a lackluster and carefree attitude.

Agree 100%. Jet lag, constantly changing circadian rhythm and meal times, minor stomach bugs (its confirmed there's one making the rounds in miami again) = justified tank jobs.

superslam77
03-24-2013, 11:20 PM
david fatbaldian would never miss lunch for a match and neither would i :p

MIMIC
03-24-2013, 11:51 PM
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.

Interesting.

Personally, if I eat a "meal" too close to doing anything athletic, I feel like I'm about to throw up. An hour is way too close for me.

When I ran track in high school, I always made sure to eat a decent breakfast and something light for lunch since lunch was so close to practice. Same for whenever I worked out. I would either eat long before the workout or nothing at all (and would eat AFTER the workout).

Energy-wise, I always felt fine :)

Kat_YYZ
03-25-2013, 12:00 AM
What I find difficult is to plan your meals during rain delays about which you do not know how long they will last or how you deal with your meals when your match starts much earlier then envisaged due to a retirement.

yes, I think the "rain delay" problem is much more significant than any weird travel arrangements or anything else described in the OP.

Actually, I often wonder about the other side of eating for pro athletes. The last thing you'd want is to suddenly feel a very strong and urgent need to take a dump while you're in your service game fighting off break point. :eek: (sorry to be graphic, but really I think the way they schedule their meals around a match is as much about managing toilet needs as about optimal energy peaks, etc).

pesto
03-25-2013, 12:10 AM
Other than rain delays, I think that Grand Slams will create the greatest difficulties here - partly as players may have to play a five-setter, and can therefore run out of gas, but also as they may have to wait for a previous match, which could seem almost over at 2 sets to love, and then go on for 5, with no tie break.

So a player whose personal preference is to eat, say, 90 minutes before a match, may find that he is way off that.

I guess some players cope better than others with changes to their preferred routine, and that's all part of the sport.

Hewitt =Legend
03-25-2013, 12:43 AM
This thread adds further fuel to my argument that all stadiums should have a Mcdonalds courtside.

leng jai
03-25-2013, 12:51 AM
I usually play much worse when I skip my KFC banquet before a match.

Mr. Oracle
03-25-2013, 02:37 AM
I usually play much worse when I skip my KFC banquet before a match.

Ahh, I see you use protein strategically there. For tuff matches against bashers, I like to keep a couple heavily marbled lamb sandwiches and cheese in my cooler for when my energy levels drop. Lots of kilojoules of energy are packed in lamb fat. Too dobar.

Popo21
03-25-2013, 02:57 AM
I don't think it would kill them if they miss a meal before a best of 3 match. They can easily have an energy bar, banana, small sandwich or something pretty close to or even during the match that will give them enough energy to sustain.

Missing a meal before a 4 hour 5 setter on the other hand is a whole other story

MTwEeZi
03-25-2013, 03:01 AM
http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/2011/4/9e2748d7-45ce-4ee5-bcfd-8dee83f9ec3aHiRes.JPG
http://tennisnoise.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/david-nalbandian-injures-linesman-final.jpg

latso
03-25-2013, 09:18 AM
the guys following Isner - Mahut went to hell probably :lol:

To eat or not to eat, that is the question :lol:

cardio
03-25-2013, 11:56 AM
Missing your lunch? No problems - thats why God created candy bar

Commander Data
03-25-2013, 12:10 PM
I doubt a top player will "miss" a meal. There are so many Mc Donalds around these days...

Topspindoctor
03-25-2013, 12:13 PM
I usually play much worse when I skip my KFC banquet before a match.

Don't forget the cask wine or you might be too nervous during the match.


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come2papa
03-25-2013, 12:51 PM
I've seen djokovic eat like 30-40 mins before one of his Serbia open matches a few years ago...i wouldn't be able to breathe if i ate that much, let alone play tennis.

Experimentee
03-27-2013, 06:27 AM
I recall an occasion where Malisse retired from a match due to dizziness. He said afterwards that he was dizzy because he had skipped breakfast so he hadn't eaten anything before the match.

Allez
03-27-2013, 09:24 AM
You're allowed to eat court side...not that it would do you any good on court.