Day three of the amazing Isner-Mahut match at Wimbledon, and I’m fascinated to hear commentators’ take on recovery techniques (my passionate interest this year). John McEnroe said this would take six months out of the players’ careers, because the recovery will be so long. A BBC commentator said, “Two massages a day for two weeks and they’ll be ready to play again in three weeks.” Both might be right. The science of recovery is still murky and everything depends on the individual.
Ultimately, time is the best thing you can do for your recovery between workouts. Beyond that, sleep (which correlates closely with time) and nutrition are key. Everything else is gravy, but sometimes the gravy makes the meal. The perceived benefit of massage or whatever other techniques these players might enjoy might give a psychological edge that lets them return to court 18 feeling slightly fresher. And in an endurance event like this tennis match, that can be huge.
For a fun read on the physiology of the match, visit today’s Science of Sport blog.