The demands of training and match-play on elite and highly trained junior tennis players: A systematic review

James Andrew Fleming, Adam Field, Steve Lui, Robert Joseph Naughton, Liam David Harper

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Talented junior tennis players are exposed to high training loads and congested competition schedules. Understanding the demands of training and competition is important to prescribe training and recovery programmes that optimise performance. The purpose of this study was to systematically review and appraise the literature available on training and match-play demands in an elite and highly trained junior tennis population to inform practice and future research opportunities.

A systematic search of PubMed, SPORTDiscus and Scopus databases was conducted according to the PRISMA guidelines in November 2021. The following keywords were used: ‘tennis’, ‘match-play’, ‘match’, ‘training’, ‘drill’, ‘practice’, ‘coaching’, ‘session’, ‘competition’ and ‘tournament’. Filters were applied to retrieve articles conducted on junior tennis players.

The search returned an initial 879 articles. Following the screening process, 21 articles were accepted for analysis. Articles were organised into four themes: training demands, match-play, court surface and recovery. Results highlighted that training sessions failed to induce the same physiological and perceptual demands imposed by tournament match-play. Rallies were 22% longer on clay courts, and associated with increased playing time, heart rate, blood lactate and ratings of perceived exertion compared with hard court surfaces. Competing in multiple matches per day negatively impacted performance indices including jumping, sprinting and change of direction. Increased ratings of muscle soreness, fatigue and pain were also reported.

Additional work is warranted to substantiate these findings and determine the efficacy of current training strategies and competition demands imposed on elite and highly trained junior tennis players.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1365-1376
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Science and Coaching
Issue number4
Early online date25 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023


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