Are Tennis Players Muscular? (The Tennis Physique Explained)

Tennis is a sport in which both strength and endurance are important. Therefore, a tennis player’s body must have the right proportions to perform optimally. This raises the question, are tennis players muscular?

Most tennis players are not very muscular, as this is not advantageous in tennis. Being lean and slim can be more beneficial than being very muscular because being slim improves agility and flexibility. This also increases endurance, allowing a player to move around the court for hours.

So for tennis, specific body characteristics are of great importance. But what is the ideal tennis body, and how muscular are tennis players? You will find out in this article!

How Muscular Are Tennis Players?

When thinking about professional athletes, many people imagine muscular and bulky people who look like they could lift cars.

However, this is not what the top athletes of all sports look like. Tennis is one of those sports that has top players that are not necessarily very muscular.

Of course, it isn’t easy to generalize, as bodies come in all forms and shapes. Besides that, not all professional tennis players are as muscular.

There is a difference between men and women, but other factors play a role in how muscular the players are.

Examples of those factors are age, diet, exercise routine, body type, and genetics.

In general, there are three different body types. Those body types are called ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph.


People with an ectomorph body type are thin, have a fast metabolism, and generally have short limbs.


People with a mesomorph body type have a medium-sized bone structure and are athletic built. They can maintain muscle mass easier than other body types.


People with an endomorph body type usually have higher amounts of fat and body mass, and they can store energy more readily.

Now, of course, there can be mixtures of those categories as well. It is very hard to place every individual on earth in just one category.

This is the case with a lot of tennis players.

So, what body type do tennis players have?

Tennis players usually have some characteristics that fall into the mesomorphic body type category. This is the group that many athletes fall into when using explosive power.

Serena Williams is an excellent example of a tennis player who is a mix of the mesomorph category and the endomorph category.

Novak Djokovic is an example of an ectomorph-mesomorph combination.

So, in general, tennis players are not extremely muscular. Many different factors influence how muscular someone is.

Not all tennis players have the same body type, and therefore there are distinct differences in muscularity.

Do Tennis Players Need to be Muscular?

The short answer:

Tennis players don't need to be very muscular to perform well. Large muscles would make them less agile, less fast on the track, and give them less endurance. Which can ultimately lead to their performance declining.

The extended answer:

Tennis is a sport that requires a lot of insight into the game. The technique is important, and you need to be able to hit a lot of different shots.

You don’t have to be extremely muscular in order to be a good tennis player, and here’s why.

Leg strength is more important than having a muscular body.

Hitting the ball very hard can be quite efficient, but this is not the only way to score points.

Besides that, you don’t even need to be extremely muscular up top in order to give your shots some power. If you want to give your ball some speed, you should use your legs.

The power often doesn’t really come from the arms. The legs are also important because of the movements tennis players make while running towards the ball.

They need to be able to change directions quickly and make explosive movements.

Flexibility and agility don’t mix well with bulkiness.

As mentioned before, tennis players need to be able to change directions quickly.

In order to do this, they need to be flexible and agile. If your muscles bulk up, this often gets in the way of flexibility.

Bulkiness adds weight as well, which burdens the knees and hips and thus results in a lack of speed and flexibility.

Therefore it is more beneficial for tennis players to be flexible than it is to be muscular.

So if you ask the question: why are tennis players not muscular?

Tennis players don’t need to be very muscular to perform well. Being lean and slim can even be more beneficial instead of very muscular because being slim improves flexibility and agility.

Does Tennis Make You Muscular?

The short answer:

Tennis is a sport that trains your entire body, but you won't gain huge muscles from it. It will strengthen your leg, arm, shoulder, lower back, upper back, and core muscles. That makes tennis a good workout for the whole body.

The extended answer:

While tennis doesn’t make you bulk up as some other sports do, there are definitely a few muscles that are important in this sport. Leg muscles might be the most important in tennis.

Players need to run around the court for quite a long time, making short and explosive movements.

Besides that, a lot of tennis players’ power to hit a ball comes from the legs. This means that by playing a lot of tennis, it is likely that your leg muscles will improve.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get huge legs, but all the muscles you use with tennis will definitely get stronger and tougher.

Now there is a difference between professional tennis players and amateur players as well.

Professional tennis players will get muscular quicker than amateur players, simply because they play tennis a lot more.

It is the same principle as studying. If you repeatedly study a wordlist, you will better remember them than if you only look at it once.

So if you repeatedly play tennis, your muscles will develop better and quicker than if you only play tennis once a week.

But then how come tennis players can have a muscular upper body as well?

Professional tennis players work out a lot. They spend a lot of time on the tennis court, practicing different shots and tactics. But they also do workouts purely based on stamina, cardio, or weight training.

All professional athletes need to stay in shape, which is why they work out so often.

They usually have developed muscles all over their body, even though not all muscles might be equally as big.

What is The Ideal Body For a Tennis Player?

The short answer:

The ideal body of a tennis player has characteristics of both an ectomorphic and mesomorphic body. This allows a player to have sufficient strength, yet remain flexible, agile, and have good endurance.

The extended answer:

So far, we have learned that the ideal body for a tennis player is not necessarily a very ripped physique with lots of muscle mass.

So, what is the best body type for a tennis player?

There is no right answer to this question, as it can really depend on the type of player and even the type of match they have to play.

In some matches, you might need more power, while agility and speed might be more important in others.

This can depend on your opponent, for example.

Besides that, you should look at your own strengths.

If you have a killer serve, you might want to play into that and be willing to give up a little flexibility.

But if you don’t possess a lot of power and are very fast, you could play into agility.

Some general attributes and qualities are good for tennis players, though, one of those being a thin and skinny body.

Tennis is an endurance sport that requires flexibility and agility. This does not match well with a big, muscular physique.

Tennis player reaching for to hit the ball

Research has shown that muscular players have a higher risk of twisting their ankle or wrist, elbow damage, and other injuries.

Male tennis players tend to be skinnier than female tennis players, but a slimmer body is beneficial for both genders.

The height of the ideal tennis body is a tough one, although the preference is leaning towards being tall. Tall players generally have more power, which mainly results in faster serves.

The serve is a very important shot since it can set the tone for a rally. If you have a fast serve that your opponent has trouble returning, you can win quite some points.

Being tall is also beneficial in terms of lobs. Tall players will be able to hit more lob shots than short players simply because they have a much higher reach.

The downside of being tall is that it can take away some of your speed and agility. This is why there are also people arguing in favor of a short body.

Gender is something that should be taken into account as well when thinking about the ideal tennis body.

We have established before that a lean muscle mass is better for tennis players. A heavier body might slow the players down and take away from their flexibility.

This is true, but women tend to be able to get away with more body fat than men.

This is because women generally store their fat around their thighs and buttocks, below the center of gravity.

Men, on the other hand, tend to store their fat above the center of gravity.

In other words, some extra body mass below the center of gravity can contribute to stability and thus help a player.

In contrast, extra body mass above the center of gravity will most likely slow a player down.

Most Muscular Tennis Players

We have established that there are a lot of different body types among professional tennis players.

While they are not all as muscular, muscular bodies certainly are represented in tennis.

So who are the most muscular tennis players?

Serena Williams:

For females, Serena Williams is an honorable mention. No one else in the female tennis circuit comes close to her body type.

Even though pregnancy obviously changed her body, she is one of the most muscular female tennis players out there.

Serena has a relatively low amount of body fat while having high amounts of lean mass.

Because of her performance and her strong body, some people think Serena Williams could compete in men's tennis.

But, how would Serena Williams rank in men's tennis? Check it out now!

Serena Williams hitting a ball

Gael Monfils:

Gael Monfils might not be the first player you think of when looking for the most muscular tennis players. Still, he certainly should not be underestimated.

He might be a bit more slim built than some of his colleagues, but Gael Monfils has arms that many men would be jealous of.

Rafael Nadal:

Being a top athlete for as long as Rafael Nadal is, leaves enough time to make improvements.

Nadal certainly did so because when he started, he was a skinny child. He grew to be a muscular tennis player by focusing on fitness.

For Rafael, it is mostly his upper body strength that earns him a spot on this list.

Stefanos Tsitsipas:

Even though a muscular body isn’t the most important thing for a tennis player, a strong body can be crucial when reaching the top.

Matches can take a long time, and sometimes opponents win simply because their body handles the intensive match they’re playing better.

Stefanos Tsitsipas started out with a tall, lean and thin body.

He got a fitness coach that helped him get the shaped and toned body he has nowadays.

Stefanos Tsitsipas is an excellent example of a muscular tennis player who got his body from working out alongside tennis, not just because of the sport he plays.


So, in conclusion, tennis players aren’t as muscular as some other athletes.

This is because tennis doesn’t require players to be bulky and have a lot of muscle mass. Agility and speed are more important.

However, leg muscle is important, so tennis players do usually have strong legs.

The ideal body for a tennis player would be a tall, lean body with strong legs and a minimum of body fat above the center of gravity.

(Click here to learn more about the different physical demands for tennis)

Brian Henderson

I am what you might call a true tennis fanatic. When I am not on the tennis court teaching or playing myself, I am probably writing an informative article about tennis. My goal is to get as many people as possible excited and informed about tennis.
November 28, 2021
Published: November 28, 2021