What can runners learn from tennis players?

what can runners learn from tennis players

As the oldest, and often considered most prestigious, tennis tournament returns to our TV screens, Wimbledon fever is spreading round the UK. Despite not having Andy Murray to cheer on, the action on centre court promises to be as action-packed at ever, but what can us runners learn from the tennis greats?  

How far do tennis players run in a game?

According to data that IBM and SI.com tracked and published during the Australian Open three years ago, the distance a professional tennis player runs during a match varies depending on the playing style.

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David Ferrer, a player known for his speed and agility, covered the most distance in the Australian open – through three rounds, Ferrer had run approximately 10,000 metres (6.2 miles).

On the other end of the spectrum, Novak Djokovic, who Murray beat in the Wimbledon final in 2013, covered less than half of Ferrer’s distance when tracked – somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 metres through three rounds. This is thought to be because Djokovic tends to play closer to the baseline, while Ferrer plays farther back.

A similar analysis, conducted at the 2014 U.S. Open, found that Caroline Wozniacki ran more than twice as far as Serena Williams (9,709 meters for Wozniacki, 4,509 for Williams) to make it to the final. Williams went on to beat Wozniacki in the final, yet Wozniacki put her running to good use two months later, when she completed her first marathon in 3:26:33.

So, when it comes to tennis, it really does seem less distance is more. That said, for runners, when speed work is combined with a tennis-players strength training, it turns out to be a pretty brilliant combo for a sub 3:30 marathon.

A version of this article appeared on runnersworld.com