The Importance Of Massage For ATP Players On Tour

Andy Murray with his coach Jamie Delgado

STARNBERG, July 19, 2018 (Sponsored)

Professional tennis players endure one of the longest competitive seasons of any sport. The ATP tour is year long season with several tournaments every month, including 4 Grand Slams. In order for players to compete at the highest level all year round, they have to put an emphasis on their recovery. One of the most effective ways to replenish their body is through a sports massage.

Great for Recovery

A solid hour or two of intense playing can leave the muscles sore and swollen. A massage according to Men’s Journal — 10 minutes of a Swedish-style rubdown in this case — activates two specific genes in muscle cells. The first one decreases inflammation caused by physical activity, and the second one stimulates the production of mitochondria, which produces the chemical energy the cells need to recover.

A massage has also been shown to hasten muscle recovery, and this benefit explains why Andy Murray prioritized a massage after a grueling semifinal win over Milos Raonic at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in 2016. Tennis Tour Talk covered that exciting match, along with its post-game press conference where Murray revealed how he recovered from that match. “I did an ice bath, stretched, had a massage from my physio,” Murray said, responding to a query on how he’ll get his body ready for the finals. The massage and recovery routine paid off as he won that tournament, beating Novak Djokovic in the final.

Prevents Muscle Tightness

Tight muscles are a bane to tennis players who need to be as limber as possible on the court. Aside from restricting movement and hampering on-court performance, muscle tightness also increases vulnerability to muscle-related injuries, like strains and pulls. This is why many employ physiotherapists to provide a pre and post-match rubdown to loosen up their muscles. In today’s game it is also not uncommon to see the therapists called onto the court mid-match to help players who are feeling discomfort.

Injury Prevention

As mentioned in the previous section, a massage helps keep muscles nice and loose, thus making them less at risk of injury. What’s more, a good rubdown releases the fascia, that fine sheath covering the muscular system and whose role is to keep the body properly aligned. An unreleased fascia can result in misalignments within the body, and these can in turn lead to injuries. Further, massage therapists can discover “weak spots” in the body, which they can address before they cause an injury that could force the player to miss tournaments.

Feel-Good Benefit

Finally, a massage can help anyone feel good, and this benefit alone is reason enough for a tennis player (or anyone) to get some bodywork done. Time reveals that a massage stimulates the release of the feel-good hormones dopamine and serotonin while hindering the production of the stress hormone cortisol. In this context, a tennis pro doesn’t even need a licensed massage therapist to experience this benefit. In an article by FoxyBingo, they suggest that even a significant other can help with a massage, and this is certainly good news for players who, for some reason or another, do not have their own sports massage therapists. For a long season, even the simplest of rubdowns can go a long way in helping a tennis pro survive the ATP Tour. Such is the importance of a massage therapist in the modern game that professionals like Keith Murray are considered part of the family. The massage therapist has worked with Andy Roddick, John Isner, and in the Women’s Tour he helped the Williams sisters achieve their success.

Getting a massage offers plenty of benefits, especially when given by a licensed massage therapist. As tennis matches on the ATP Tour get longer and more physical, massage therapists are vital for keeping players in peak condition.