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The physical demands upon players in professional tennis have been increasing over the past few years. Currently, average intensities range between 60% and 70% of maximum oxygen uptake.1 Tennis can be classified as a mainly anaerobic activity with emphasis on glycolysis and glycogenolysis.2 However, taking into consideration incomplete physiological regeneration between points, as well as between matches and tournaments, a high cardiorespiratory capacity may help to avoid fatigue3 and aid in recovery, thus promoting continuous success in professional tennis.1 4 The relative importance of aerobic capacity may depend on an individual athlete’s preferred strategy, as the proportion of playing time versus total match time varies with playing style.5 Average point duration may reach more than 15 seconds when baseline players are in control of a rally, as opposed to <5 seconds when attacking players are in control.6
Professional players have a cardiorespiratory capacity of 55–65 mL/min/kg.5–7 Players attend up to 40 tournaments/year, during which athletic training sessions are necessarily reduced in volume and intensity. Thus, the preparation period at the end of the year offers the best, if not the only chance to systematically develop athletic capabilities.8 Improving the aerobic capacity in this period may have a strong bearing on tennis performance. This study aimed to examine the relationship between VO2max during preparation and the following year’s entry ranking, focusing on a single top athlete, to explore the research potential for future systematic evaluation.
The athlete (180 cm, 74 kg) has competed at Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tour level since 1994. He prefers to play most points from …
Competing interests: None.