It is well known that tennis is one of the most difficult and physically demanding sports in the world. Let’s forget about the mental side of it, that is another topic. Here we only focus on physical shape.
Contrary to sports like football, basketball or even athletics, where the duration of the competition itself is always known precisely (or very closely in case of running where distance is fixed), tennis matches can last anywhere from less than an hour (when Roger plays well) up to five-six, or even, in extreme cases, eleven hours (Isner vs Mahut at Wimbledon). This extremity already separates tennis completely from other sports and in one’s eyes puts it in the category of “marathon” sports, where extreme endurance is necessary.
However, endurance is just one trait in top tennis players’ arsenal. They have to be extremely quick and explosive which is on the completely opposite side of the spectrum of having great endurance. This is why becoming fully prepared for highest level of tennis requires so much hard and more importantly, very specific work. You need to be super quick on very short distance, and you need to be able to do those sprints over and over, without dropping intensity, for literally hours.
Another thing that is required on the top level is body strength. Your body needs to be as hard as s rock, in every area. Literally. Okay, maybe not every single area. But you need to be a beast, of course not like bodybuilders. In Serbian we have an expression: “Strong as a steel wire”. But here is another catch. You also need to be flexible as a rubber. You need to be able to do splits on the court and unexpectedly twist your body like you are performing on “America’s got talent” show. I am not exaggerating. Just look at Novak Djokovic. Look at the positions in which he puts his body. Many people out there would break their limbs if in such positions.
On top of all that, you need to be exceptionally agile (being able to move quickly and easy with changing directions), to have an amazing balance and extraordinary coordination. Balance is something that is underestimated a lot, because when you watch the best players, it all looks very natural. There is a lot of tedious work behind it.
After all, if you have ever stepped on the court, you know very well what I am talking about. If you haven’t, I dare you to go and try it. What can you lose? Except few calories and maybe balance.