The aim of this study was to quantify kinematic, kinetic and performance changes that occur in the serve throughout a prolonged tennis match play. Serves of eight male advanced tennis players were recorded with a motion capture system before, at mid-match, and after a 3-hour tennis match. Before and after each match, electromyographic data of 8 upper limb muscles obtained during isometric maximal voluntary contraction were compared to determine the presence of muscular fatigue. Vertical ground reaction forces, rating of perceived exertion, ball speed, and ball impact height were measured. Kinematic and upper limb kinetic variables were computed. The results show decrease in mean power frequency values for several upper limb muscles that is an indicator of local muscular fatigue. Decreases in serve ball speed, ball impact height, maximal angular velocities and an increase in rating of perceived exertion were also observed between the beginning and the end of the match. With fatigue, the majority of the upper limb joint kinetics decreases at the end of the match. No change in timing of maximal angular velocities was observed between the beginning and the end of the match. A prolonged tennis match play may induce fatigue in upper limb muscles, which decrease performance and cause changes in serve maximal angular velocities and joint kinetics. The consistency in timing of maximal angular velocities suggests that advanced tennis players are able to maintain the temporal pattern of their serve technique, in spite of the muscular fatigue development.
Martin, C., Bideau, B., Delamarche, P., & Kulpa, R. (2016). Influence of a prolonged tennis match play on serve biomechanics. PLoS ONE, 11(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0159979