Kit for playing tennis

A guide to buying the right tennis gear

As with any new sport, it’s important not to get drawn in to spending too much money on tennis gear before you’ve decided to commit yourself to playing it. Although you don’t actually need too much equipment to enjoy this fit and active racket sport, the costs can add up if you go for all the top equipment. Buy sensibly at the start of your tennis playing career and you can still enjoy the game without breaking the bank; then if you really get into tennis, you can easily upgrade.

The tennis racket

The tennis racket is the most expensive item, with costs varying from around £20 right up to more than £250. Most sports have a lot of complex technical terms for their gear and tennis is no different. Go into a specialist tennis retailer and you’ll be asked about what material you want the racket to be made of, what you’re looking for in terms of hitting area, length, beam width, string pattern and much more.

Don’t worry; for a beginner most of these are not of major importance, you simply need a nicely balanced all-rounder, with good stability, that matches your size.

Lower price range tennis rackets

The principal manufactures all offer good entry level rackets, which are perfect when you’re first starting out. Prince make the Tech Titanium for £40 and the Tech Pro for £50, Yonex do the Graphlex Ti Power for £50 and the Control for £60, Wilson have the Sampras range for around £45 to £50 and Head offer the Head One for £40 and Leander for £50. All of these prices are indicative and may vary by retailer. Consider any of these and entry models from Dunlop and Slazenger and you won’t go wrong.

Higher priced tennis rackets

At the other end of the scale, rackets used by professionals, and amateurs who take the sport seriously, differ considerably and are made of any number of materials. These include copper, fiberglass, titanium, graphite, kevlar and nickel and you pay accordingly! All the manufacturers mentioned above produce rackets in the £230 to £250 price range.

Tennis balls

The other essential when you’re starting out, of course, is a set of tennis balls and, again, you can spend far more on these than you need to. They can also differ in price considerably depending on the brand and whether or not they are pressurized. Some are faster than others and there are different types for different surfaces, but when you’re just starting out go for the basics at less than a pound each. Obviously the more you buy the cheaper they are, but resist the temptation to buy a bucket full, which is an option in some retailers. You’ll be able to get by with five or six.

Clothing for playing tennis

There are some really fashionable shoes, shorts, skirts and tops available, but unless you always need to be dressed in the latest gear, whatever you’re doing, resist the urge to spend until you feel committed to the sport. At that stage, choose clothing which will have tennis performance benefits.

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