What Equipment Do You Need to Play Tennis?

Published on 10/28/2023 · 7 min readGear up for the court with our comprehensive guide on essential tennis equipment! Whether you're a beginner or seasoned player, get the best gear for your game!
Russell Christensen, Tennis Expert
By Tennis Expert Russell Christensen

Photo by Fabrika Simf

Tennis is a beloved sport that requires a specific set of equipment to fully enjoy and excel on the tennis court. Whether you're a seasoned tennis player or just starting out, having the right tennis equipment is crucial to enhance your performance and overall experience. In this article, we will explore my top 12 essential tennis gear items needed to play the game effectively and comfortably.

1. Tennis Rackets

Photo by Russell Christensen

Tennis rackets are fundamental tennis equipment and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and weights. Players often have personal preferences when choosing their racket, considering factors such as grip size, weight, head size, and string pattern. If you are starting out, please reach out to an expert who can give you a good recommendation. Here at Curated, our services are free, so make sure to take advantage of that!

What to Consider:

2. Tennis Balls

Photo by Gargantiopa

Tennis balls are essential for playing the game. They come in various types, including pressurized and pressureless balls, each impacting the spin and bounce of the ball during a match. If you are playing a leisurely game, use pressurized balls. They will come in pressurized cans and they will give you a good bounce and feel nice on your racquet. Pressureless balls are an option, but I would steer clear. They are mostly used for practicing purposes since they keep a relatively decent bounce year round; however, they don’t play the same. I typically recommend the Penn, Wilson, Dunlop, Slazenger, or Diadem brand balls. Please do not get the balls that come in that weird, netted bag at Walmart — you can do better!

What to Consider:

  • Penn Championship Regular Duty
  • Wilson US Open Regular Duty
  • Dunlop ATP Regular Duty

3. Tennis Shoes

Proper tennis shoes are crucial for providing the necessary support, stability, and grip on the tennis court. Good tennis shoes help players move swiftly and reduce the risk of injuries. Given the surface that you play on for tennis, you don't want to play with just any type of shoe. If you do, you may find a hole in your shoe pretty darn quick! Tennis shoes are built for the rough surface of tennis courts.

What to Consider:

4. Grips

Photo by Russell Christensen

The grip on a tennis racket is important for controlling the racket-to-hand connection during play. Players often customize their grips with overgrips to ensure a comfortable and secure hold while preserving the original grip. There are two options to consider: tacky or absorption-type grips. If you have sweaty hands, opt for absorption grips like the Tourna grips. If you have dry hands like me, go for something tacky, like the Wilson Sensation Pro overgrips. Most people don't know how to put on a grip, so I would recommend finding a YouTube video. It won't take long to learn, I promise!

What to Consider:

5. Tennis Court

Photo by Lio Nguyen

A tennis court is where the game is played. Courts come in different surfaces like hard courts, clay courts, grass courts, and more, each requiring specific adaptations in equipment and playing style. There are courts all around the world — just do a quick Google search, and you should find one. Most of the ones you will see will be hard courts, unless you live in Europe, which typically has clay courts. Make sure your shoes are geared for the proper surface.

What to Consider:

  • Hard court (most common in US): standard playability
  • Clay court: slower ball speed surface
  • Grass court: faster ball speed surface

6. Tennis Bags

A Wilson Tennis bag

Tennis bags come in various sizes and designs and are used to carry tennis rackets, balls, clothing, and other gear. Typically bag sizes vary by how many racquets you need to carry. They will range from 3-, 6-, and 9-racquet bags. They do have 12-racquet bags, but mostly professional tennis players use these. If you are just starting out, go for the 3-racquet size. If you’d rather go hands-free, try a backpack for your racquets instead. Either will work fine, and both have plenty of compartments.

What to Consider:

7. Clothing

The Lucky in Love Women's Blossoms

Tennis players wear specific attire like tennis shirts, tennis shorts, skirts, and socks designed for the sport. This apparel is often made from sweat-wicking material to keep players dry during the game, but you can wear a tee shirt and shorts geared toward working out. Imagine you are going to the gym. Whatever it is, you are ready to play some tennis as well!

What to Consider:

8. Accessories

Accessories such as wristbands, visors, sunglasses, hats, knee braces, and vibration dampeners can help players manage sweat, protect their eyes, and support their joints and hands during a match. These aren't ABSOLUTE necessities, so be mindful of what you need. Some people like sunglasses and visors, where I'm not a big fan of them. Accommodate what works for you.

What to Consider:

9. Towels

Photo by Barillo Picture

Towels are essential to wipe away sweat and maintain a good grip on the racket. They are usually kept in tennis bags for easy access during the game. I do think this is nice, especially if you sweat a lot or are working out hard. There is nothing worse than having sweat in your eyes while serving or having a sweaty hand and trying to hold on to your racquet. Doesn't need to be a big towel — get something small like a hand towel.

What to Consider:

  • I don’t have a specific preference on this, honestly any towel will do!

10. Tennis Strings

Photo by Russell Christensen

Tennis strings influence the spin and control of the ball. Different types of strings and string tensions can cater to a player's playing style and needs. I would recommend buying some standard string called synthetic gut. It's cheap and great for beginners. The reason I recommend buying is because most stringers will charge extra if they are using their own string. Just a way to make an extra buck on their end. Save money and have your own string and just pay for the labor cost of stringing.

What to consider:

11. Sunscreen

Photo by EH Stockphoto

You will be surprised how much sun you will get playing tennis. Applying sunscreen is important to protect the skin from harmful UV rays, especially during long matches under the sun. What to Consider:

  • Honestly no specific preference, but make sure to get a sport-related sunscreen to help with any sweat.

12. Opponent

Photo by Russell Christensen

Lastly, a worthy opponent is a vital part of any tennis game, providing competition and challenge that pushes players to improve their skills. If you don't know anyone, that’s okay! There are many sources for finding someone to hit with. I recommend first going on Facebook and looking for a local tennis group in your area. You will be surprised how many people are in the same situation.

Another option is PlayYourCourt. It's a subscription-based service, but you are guaranteed to find someone on your skill level and have matches to play. One thing I would recommend doing is familiarizing yourself with the UTR (Universal Tennis Rating) system. It's the system that grades your skill level. You will see people asking your skill level all the time, so be prepared!

If you can't find a tennis player, the last resort option is getting a tennis ball machine. I will say though, it can get pretty expensive when getting one of those machines. So go for the cheaper option and find a partner.

What to Consider:

Find the Right Tennis Equipment for You

Having the right tennis equipment is crucial for an enjoyable and successful tennis game. From tennis rackets to tennis balls, shoes, and various accessories, each piece of equipment plays a significant role in enhancing a player's performance on the court. Understanding the features and options available will help you make informed choices based on your personal preferences and playing style. It can be a daunting task, so take a shortcut and ask a Curated Expert like myself. We have a ton of experience in these kinds of things, so don't hesitate to ask! We will get you on your way to being ready for your next tennis-playing experience.

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

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