How far do you run during a tennis match?

There’s a lot more to tennis than hitting a ball back and forth on a court.

It takes extreme mental precision, as well as elite physical fitness. Some pro tennis players have quite odd ways of training their bodies to be ready for the court: number two in the world Nadal apparently does kangaroo jumps in the dressing room, running inbetween ladder rungs is a popular method for improving footwork, and Belinda Bencic practises by doing 100 metre sprints.

But why is it that pros train by running on an athletics track, when the area in which they play is so small? Well, as it turns out, some players are running as far as 2 kilometres in a match.

All the players at Wimbledon are tracked live and the data about their performance is collected by official partners IBM, who have a team of data analysts on site at the championships.

They use the Hawk-Eye system (which is best known for being the final call on whether or not a ball is out) to measure how far players run during points, and then add it up to see the distance covered during the whole match. Here’s a run down of the distances some players covered during their first round matches this year at Wimbledon:

Serena Williams (winner) vs Giulia Gatto-Monticone

  • Williams ran 1.20 kilometres during the match and averaged 9.7 metres per point
  • Gatto-Monticone ran 1.33 kilometres during the match and 10.7 metres per point
Serena Williams

Novak Djokovic (winner) vs Philipp Kohlschreiber

  • Djokovic ran 2.24 kilometres during the match and averaged 12.7 metres per point
  • Kohlschreiber ran 2.39 kilometres during the match and averaged 13.6 metres per point
Novak Djokovic

Johanna Konta (winner) vs Ana Bogdan

  • Konta ran 1.14 kilometres during the match and averaged 9.4 metres per point
  • Bogdan ran 1.20 kilometres during the match and averaged 9.9 metres per point
Johanna Konta

Cori Gauff (winner) vs Venus Williams

  • Gauff ran 1.35 kilometres during the match and averaged 11.7 metres per point
  • Williams ran 1.26 kilometres during the match and averaged 10.9 metres per point
Cori Gauff

Calorie counting

Pros have to keep extremely fit in order to play at the level they do, but playing the sport itself is a great way to burn calories. There’s an equation to help you work out how many calories you burn per hour when doing various sports, so we can see roughly how many players such as Konta shed when serving.

The equation multiplies the ‘MET’ value of an activity with a person’s weight in kilos.

Singles holds a MET value of 8. So, if we take Johanna Konta’s weight, which is 70 kilos, and times it by that MET value, it comes to 560, which is roughly how many calories Konta will be burning in the first hour of her next match.

Obviously this will slightly vary from person-to-person, but it’s a good estimate.

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