It is no exaggeration to say that tennis is a physically demanding sport—at least, it is for the players. Seeing the top players in the world strain themselves to their physical limitations over the course of a best-of-five match is a sight to behold.
Tennis players spend countless hours working out without their racquets to build endurance and prevent fatigue during matches. They need to be able to control their body movement on the court and have a strong core, which is why they use a variety of free weights or other resistance training equipment.
If you really want to see some of the fittest and strongest tennis players in action, here is our list of top seven to help you find your pick.
7. Caroline Wozniacki
Carolina Wozniacki shed the label of “Slam-less World No. 1” in 2017, and in the spring of 2018, right before the U.S. Open, she had to overcome another big obstacle – rheumatoid arthritis.
While battling her disease, she continued to perform remarkably well on the tennis court, and this grit would always make her find a way into any list of the world’s fittest tennis players.
However, she eventually realized as a result of her injuries that there are times when you must just pay attention to your body and allow it to recover first. She had been competing on the WTA circuit for 12 years and was continually putting her body through a lot of stress, which is why her injuries were so severe.
She overcame those fitness challenges through exercise and diet. She practices yoga and engages in boxing with a heavy bag, which helps her tone and strengthen her arms. Moreover, she stretches and meditates daily. The Danish player also engages in strenuous aerobic endurance training along with the strenuous workouts she performs with her racquet.
6. Serena Williams
No one exudes strength the way Serena Williams does. Tennis’s all-time great and cultural icon, Serena Williams, has changed our understanding of what it means to be a strong woman throughout her illustrious career.
She has won a record-setting 23 Grand Slam singles titles, was named the Associated Press’ Female Athlete of the Decade in 2019, and has been instrumental in bringing attention to the crisis of high maternal mortality rates among Black women in the United States.
It takes a lot of work to become a top tennis player, and it would take a lot more work yet to become the finest tennis player while pregnant and nursing. But, among WTA moms, she has won the second-most Grand Slam tournaments during the Open Era.
Her training routines are challenging, which helps her keep her body in check and prevents her from being injured. She turns to a vegan diet throughout the tennis seasons.
Currently, the bulk of her at-home workout consists of cardiovascular exercises. In addition, she engages in HIIT, some stretching and light weight training, and primarily cardio exercise.
As a result of her dedication to being in top physical shape, American tennis star Serena Williams will always find a place on any list highlighting the world’s fittest athletes, even after experiencing health problems during her pregnancy.
5. Andy Murray
Andy Murray is among the former world number ones still competing professionally and going strong too. The 34-year-old player, who holds an incredible 46 singles victories to his name, including three Grand Slams, is presently ranked 85th in the world.
Murray may not be the most aesthetically pleasing player on the court, but due to his sheer athleticism and dogged determination, he can compete with the top players in the world and beat them at their own game.
After having hip surgery, the Brit, who was once the epitome of the ideal baseliner, is now a faint shell of his former self. Nevertheless, he still seems in excellent shape and is ready to give his opponents a hard time in every match he plays.
4. Gael Monfils
It may be argued that Gael Monfils was probably the strongest player in tennis history. At the age of 35, the Frenchman, who was once ranked sixth in the world, is still going strong and displaying glimpses of his incredible agility, flexibility, and power-hitting skills.
He turned pro in 2005, and, after being on the scene for over two decades, he has bagged 11 singles titles and won over 500 singles matches.
However, despite his propensity to score large from either flank, Monfils has struggled with inconsistency and a dubious attitude for much of his career. This has been especially true when playing against players with a higher skill level.
Monfils, a classic baseliner, focuses on wearing his opponents down rather than going for the kill. And he manages it all, thanks to his incredible fitness.
However, his playing style is adequate against “lesser” players but does not really work against the Big Three (Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic), who have a combined record of 41-6 versus the Frenchman.
3. Stefanos Tsitsipas
The pro tennis player Stefanos Tsitsipas reached a career-high position of No. 3 in the world on August 9, 2021, making him the greatest Greek player ever.
Not only has this young Greek added the ATP World Tour Finals to his collection of trophies, but he has also managed to raise a few eyebrows along the way, thanks to his amazing fitness.
Tsitsipas is a versatile player who excels in all areas of the court. He is most effective while attacking from the baseline but also makes many incursions towards the net. Moreover, Tsitsipas is capable of opening up the court with his powerful groundstrokes and plays one-handed backhand with a great deal of topspin.
He has demonstrated throughout the year that he does not shy away from engaging in exciting rallies with top players such as Djokovic and Nadal. However, the most peculiar aspect of the situation is that he appears to be breathing just fine after some of those strenuous sets.
2. Novak Djokovic
Talk about the strongest tennis players in the world and you just cannot ignore Djokovic. His training regimen consists of circuit work, conditioning, and resistance exercises, and he is widely regarded as one of the healthiest tennis players competing on tour.
Even though he was known as a player who frequently reached the semifinals of grand slam tournaments, Djokovic did not win his first major championship until the 2008 Australian Open. Then, in 2011, the Serbian star started reigning over two of his greatest competitors, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
However, as a result of an elbow injury, the Serbian pro had to cancel his tennis season in 2017. About a year after taking a break from the sport, he came back strong. In 2021, the Serb continued to exert his domination, as shown by the fact that he won three Grand Slam championships and came so near to winning a fourth at the US Open.
He has an impressive résumé, having won 37 ATP Masters 1000 championships and 20 Grand Slam singles titles. Djokovic is recognized for his exceptional athleticism, flexibility, and mental tenacity and is often considered one of the tennis court’s finest movers.
Throughout his brilliant career, the Serb was able to save a significant number of match points, as well as championship points, because of his ability to hit back while he was on the defensive, and this sheer power and will puts him on our list of strongest tennis players ever.
1. Rafael Nadal
Like Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal is widely considered to be one of the very finest players the sport has ever seen. The famed left-hander, also known as the “King of Clay” due to his stunning exploits on red dirt, is an excellent mover on the court, especially while playing on clay.
Many players consider competing against Nadal on clay the most challenging encounter. He truly is a beast, and just the fact that he is so fit gives him the capacity to torment his adversaries. He consistently produces amazing topspin on his strokes, which can only be achieved by expending a significant amount of physical energy.
The Spaniard’s physical appearance is also a significant reflection of the amount of general fitness he possesses. Because he is slender but muscular, he is able to cover the court so rapidly and make winning shots from apparently impossible situations. This undoubtedly contributes to his success.
Nadal is second only to Djokovic in ATP Masters 1000 singles victories with 36, and he has also competed in a record-tying 53 finals, 76 semi-finals, and 99 quarter-finals. Nadal has an Open Era record 83.4% lifetime winning percentage, and all that has become possible thanks to his incredible fitness and sheer power.