I try to eat fish where I can – I feel that’s a little bit lighter. I definitely need to stay away from any red meats or anything like that
Eating the right foods is a crucial part of any pre-match ritual, not least for someone with a physique the size of 6ft8in Kevin Anderson
The world No.39, who took eventual champion Juan Martin del Potro the distance in the Basel quarter-finals last week and bypassed Thomaz Bellucci and Richard Gasquet to reach the third round of this week's Paris Masters, is not gluten-free or overly fussy about his diet like some players, but insists it’s just a case of being sensible about food. The timing of meals however, particularly during tournaments, is crucial to the South African.
“Generally, if I’m playing first match on I’m going to eat at least two-and-a-half to three hours before my match and then I might have something lighter like a sandwich maybe 30 minutes before I go on court,” says the Johannesburg-native.
Weighing in at 197lbs (89kg), 26-year-old Anderson says he tries not to have any hard, fast rules about what he eats, other than to make sure most food groups are covered.
“Pasta is always good,” he says. “I try to eat fish where I can – I feel that’s a little bit lighter. I definitely need to stay away from any red meats or anything like that.
“So it’s basically chicken or fish, try and get some vegetables as well. It’s mainly just an all-around good meal. I don’t have a specific go-to food.”
With the length of matches on tour varying wildly, one might assume that the size of meals at regular tour events where matches are the best of three sets, compared to Grand Slams, where pros play best-of-five, might differ. Anderson, though, says it’s the liquids that you have to get right.
“Obviously you’re playing more matches and you tend to go longer [at Grand Slams], but you can only eat so much before the match,” he says. “It’s important just to keep hydrating, try to eat a few things on the court and do that throughout the match. You might consume more on the court just because you’re going to be out there for a longer period.”
Kevin Anderson spoke to us about his diet in the latest issue, Volume 3, Issue 6, of tennishead magazine. Why not subscribe to the magazine here.