Tennis is a fascinating sport. It combines technical skill with insane conditioning and body composition is a big factor in regards to the power they can generate and their explosiveness and acceleration in the court. What I mean by that is there is no point in being a 250lbs player who can serve more powerfully than anyone but once it is returned you can’t run to make another shot.
Since players rely on explosive movements, speed and endurance they need to train their bodies in a variety of ways. The most important factor in their training is being able to apply the strength and power they acquire in the gym to their functional movements as a player. If the gym work is not closely correlated to the game itself it isn’t going to be productive for them to perform the exercises.
How Andy Murray Trains
Andy Murray, the current world number 2 ranked player, pairs up compound movements with an explosive plyo-metric movement. For example he starts with 5 sets of 6 reps for squats then follows each set with a round of box jumps. This keeps the explosive ability and allows the player to focus on converting the power from the exercise into a functional movement. He then does the same with walking lunges/jump lunges and weighted pull ups/medicine ball slams.
Also included in Andy’s training are Olympic lifts such as power cleans where he combines his power/plyo training in one movement and works a range of muscles throughout. Isolation exercises are not commonly used for tennis players unless correcting an imbalance.
How Novak Djokovic Trains
Novak Djokovic, the current world number 1, adopts a different training approach; he focuses on activating his entire body and working on stability more than power. In between his rigorous training sessions on the court he performs yoga, foam rolls his muscles and then competes resistance band training and full body complexes such as kettle bell swings.
He also performs much higher rep ranges, as high as 100 reps, in order to aid his muscular endurance which is a necessity on the court. He begins by activating his core and glutes every time he enters the gym by doing walk outs, glute bridges and reverse lunges with his hands above his head. This is where he produces his power for shots when he plays so by getting them firing before every workout is essential for him to convert his gym work to results in his play.
In short there is no golden training method for tennis however like any sport there needs to be a conversion of the power and strength you acquire in the gym to the same skills you need on the court. You must practice the skills and then train the body to perform those skills flawlessly even when reaching near exhaustion. Staying away from isolation exercises prevents delayed onset muscle soreness that could inhibit any tennis practice that may be planned and allows the player to train every day.