Game. Set. Match. Anyone for Tennis?

As if this summer didn’t have enough sport for our viewing delight, another one comes along that demands the attention. Yes it’s Wimbledon tennis time, and for the next two weeks you’ll be getting through enough strawberries & cream, champagne and powerful forehands down the line to catch the bug of excitement that comes with this particular racquet sport.


What’s not to love? Gruelling first-to-three-set men’s matches, often lasting well over three hours if the two competitors are evenly matched. The glamour of Wimbledon tennis has the allure of gladiators entering the Colloseum (centre court). They’re ready to slay their opponent for the entertainment of the masses with a high-performance graphite ‘tool’ (the racquet) in one hand and a set of tennis balls in the other.


With powerful players like Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic pitted against the craft and finesse that Roger Federer brings – it’s no wonder this is the inspiration of many as men head to the tennis courts of fitness clubs or local parks ready to blast a few balls in anger.



This is all well and good, but considering many men may not have picked up a tennis racquet in a while, or certainly not since last summer, there are some points to keep in mind. Health and fitness is key to your success and enjoyment of the game, so you’ll want to be in good shape. Furthermore, movement of the body and limbs is a focus – the act of playing tennis involves actions that your body wouldn’t necessarily have become familiar with through a gym routine.


Injuries with the wrists and arms are commonplace in the novice tennis world. So how does the sporty discerning gent avoid the common ailments that could curtail an exciting summer on the courts? Elysium sought the advice of Tony Kochhar, a consultant Shoulder, Elbow ad Upper Limb Surgeon (all the potential problem areas then) for advice on identifying symptoms and overcoming such issues.


Elysium Magazine (EM): After not playing any sort of racquet sport for a while, what is the best way to prepare the body for tennis this summer and avoid injury?


Tony Kochhar (TK): This is a really important question. A lot of people who come to see me have recently played tennis as a one-off (with friends) or have recently taken up the sport and have injured their shoulder. The key is to developing the muscle memory to perform those movements required in tennis over a period of time.


Key points:

  1. Warm up properly – tip to toe. For the first few times you play, the warm up should be at least 30 minutes. It sounds like a lot but it’s the key to an injury free season.
  2. If you go to the gym, rather than your usual workout, try some sports specific exercises. For tennis, combining some light dumbbell exercises while standing on a Bosu ball is great for ankle stability, core strength and for your shoulders. I would also work on the shoulders and upper body using the cable machines.
  3. Stretch out after playing – those muscles that haven’t been used before need to return to normal ASAP.
  4. Allow the tissues to recover – play regularly but try not to play on consecutive days at first.

EM: I’ve a pretty powerful serve but the action of movement causes stiffness and soreness in my shoulder. Is there anyway to relieve the pain without reducing the power of my serve?


TK: The power serve is something that we all try to develop. Unfortunately winding up to strike the ball involves moving the shoulder into abnormal positions and this can lead to injuries, often of the rotator cuff or the biceps tendon. If left unchecked, this often needs surgery. Sports specific training can prevent this. I would suggest a combination of stretching, cable workouts for strengthening and plyometrics (explosive strength – my favourite is using a tornado ball).


EM: The dreaded Tennis Elbow – what are the symptoms, and how do I cure this?


TK: The Tennis Elbow is often associated with poor technique. Not getting the body behind the ball and overexertion of the forearm muscles rather than using the power from the whole arm and trunk are the most common technical problems. The grip and the racquet are also important. Over or under grip will also cause greater strain on the forearm as will a heavy or tightly strung racquet.


Key points for Tennis Elbow treatment:

  1. When it hurts or before you play, wrap a hot towel around your elbow. It increases the blood flow to the tissues and makes the lubricating fluid in and around the elbow more efficient
  2. Simple eccentric exercises – these are great at reducing the strain in the muscles affected by tennis elbow
  3. Massage
  4. Anti-inflammatory tablets – take a short course but make sure you check with your GP or pharmacist you are OK to take them
  5. Avoid playing tennis for a few days – let the tissues recover!


Now you’re all set to battle it out on the courts and dominate from baseline to net play. As with all things relating to health and fitness; it’s always best to know your body – spotting signs of fatigue or injury will help stop a little twinge developing into a full blown problem. You’ve got too many aces to smash and match points to win this summer without letting injury get in the way.


For more information about Tony Kochhar visit www.shoulderdoctor.co.uk. He can be found tweeting here.

Amit Chakravarty

Amit Chakravarty

Amit has a refined taste for all things luxury lifestyle, with a particular penchant for men’s style. He’s keen on the latest watches – especially classic timepieces, new drinks, luxury travel, fine dining, executive technology, new gadgets and sports for the discerning gent.