Effects of the Playing Surface on Plantar Pressures During the First Serve in Tennis

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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This study aimed at examining the influence of different playing surfaces on in-shoe loading patterns in each foot (back and front) separately during the first serve in tennis.


Ten competitive tennis players completed randomly five frst (ie, fat) serves on two different playing surfaces: clay vs GreenSet. Maximum and mean force, peak and mean pressure, mean area, contact area and relative load were recorded by Pedar insoles divided into 9 areas for analysis.


Mean pressure was significantly lower (123 ± 30 vs 98 ± 26 kPa; -18.5%; P < .05) on clay than on GreenSet when examining the entire back foot. GreenSet induced higher mean pressures under the medial forefoot, lateral forefoot and hallux of the back foot (+9.9%, +3.5% and +15.9%, respectively; both P < .01) in conjunction with a trend toward higher maximal forces in the back hallux (+15.1%, P = .08). Peak pressures recorded under the central and lateral forefoot (+21.8% and +25.1%; P < .05) of the front foot but also the mean area values measured on the back medial and lateral midfoot were higher (P < .05) on clay. No significant interaction between foot region and playing surface on relative load was found.


It is suggested that in-shoe loading parameters characterizing the first serve in tennis are adjusted according to the ground type surface. A lesser asymmetry in peak (P < .01) and mean (P < .001) pressures between the two feet was found on clay, suggesting a greater need for stability on this surface.

O. Girard is with ASPETAR, Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar.J-P. Micallef is with UPRES—EA 2991, Faculty of Sport Sciences, Montpellier, France. G.P. Millet is with ISSUL, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.