Tune in today at 2pm (EST) to catch the match, but in the meantime here are Dr. Emily's words of advice:
Tennis Sneaker vs. Running Shoe
Footwear is designed for protection and to enhance function. Although not all sports require footwear (hence the barefoot running trend), in certain sports it provides a functional benefit.
Tennis is characterized by multi-directional movements requiring rapid deceleration, pivots and change of direction. This means a shoe must allow enough traction to help in slowing down, but not restrict the pivots or change in direction.
If you look at the bottom of a tennis shoe - You see that it is flat without the typical treads of a running shoe or hiking shoe.
If you look at a running shoe (compared to a tennis shoe) this is designed knowing that running is a primarily linear movement. The way the foot strikes the ground and pushes off is sagittal or linear. The bottom of the shoe reflects this -
Barefoot Training for Tennis Players
Barefoot training for tennis players is very important - despite it being a shod sport. I like to apply what is called "barefoot before shod" which means activate and strengthen the foot (with the core) before putting on the shoes. This means a tennis play should warm up their body and wake up their nervous system (the nervous system controls all our movements) with 5 minutes of foot activation.
After training or playing tennis with shoes would come "foot recovery". I recommend standing on a golf ball or lacrosse ball (or whatever) for 5 minutes after physical activity. This will resent all the fascial tissue and relax the small muscles on the bottom of the foot.
Wearing shoes a size smaller than your normal size is a perceived advantage because tennis has so many multi-directional movements which are stop & go. Every stop or change in direction will cause the foot to move around in the shoe. Wearing a smaller shoe will prevent this sliding around. The downside is of course you are putting excess pressure on the small digits of the foot and could cause hammertoes, corns, blisters.