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Medicina dello Sport 2018 March;71(1):11-7

DOI: 10.23736/S0025-7826.17.02997-0


language: English, Italian

Effects of hard versus clay courts on athletic performance under conditions of fatigue in competitive tennis

Matteo PONZANO 1, Massimiliano GOLLIN 1, 2

1 Adapted Training and Performance Laboratory, University of Turin, Turin, Italy; 2 Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, Turin, Italy


BACKGROUND: To assess the effects that fatigue produces on balance and speed with changes of direction after a tennis match, analyzing also potential surface related differences.
METHODS: Twenty-four tennis matches were played, 12 on clay courts (playing time 78±24 minutes) and 12 on hard courts (playing time 69±17 minutes). Twelve nationally-ranked tennis players (mean age 17±2 years, height 179±6 cm, body weight 70±11 kg, competitive experience: 9±2 years, training sessions per week: 5±2) took part in the study; they were right-handed players and each participant played a match on each playing surface. A counterbalancing study design was used. Both bipodalic and monopodalic balance was assessed using a proprioceptive platform Libra® (Easytech, Florence, Italy), whereas speed was evaluated by photocells Microgate Witty® (Microgate Italy, Bolzano, Italy). The tests were administered before (T0) and after (T1) the match.
RESULTS: The Wilcoxon test showed significant values (T0 vs. T1) in speed tests performed on clay courts (C) starting from the right (CR) and then the left (CL) of the baseline: (CR: P<0.05, -6%, CL: P<0.05, -4%) and on hard courts (H) starting from the right (HR) and then the left (HL) of the baseline: (HR: P<0.001, -6%, HL: P<0.01, -6%). The monopodalic balance test performed with right foot after hard court matches showed a significant variation (P<0.05, +18%).
CONCLUSIONS: About 80 minutes of competitive tennis are enough to reduce speed both on clay courts and hard courts. Balance does not change significantly, except for the right foot monopodalic balance in right-handed players after they have played on hard courts.

KEY WORDS: Surface properties - Muscle fatigue - Tennis - Postural balance

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