Tennis is a pricy sport. You need a racket, and rackets don’t come cheap nowadays. You need tennis balls. And you need a well-maintained court on which to play against a decent opponent. Being a tennis player doesn’t come cheap. Of course, it differs depending on whether you’re a professional, an amateur, club level player, or just play for fun. But if you’re quite serious about the sport, want to make it big, or do as well as you can do, you’ve probably come to the realization that you’re going to have to invest a great deal of your time and finances on the sport. If tennis is a pastime of yours or something more, it’s likely you’re going to want to spend some cash on the sport. But even so, you want to enjoy your hobby, not resent it as something that drains your finances.
There are certain things in the sport that you do need to spend a bit more cash on, that is if you have aspirations of going somewhere with your game. It can also be fun to treat yourself, get some decent equipment and attire. It could help your play, could improve your mental state of mind – after all, if you look good you feel good, you’ll be more confident and have something of a strut out on court, which can only have a positive effect on your game. It’s important to choose what you spend your money on wisely. Some things just aren’t worth splurging on. These are 10 things tennis players should go cheap on and 10 worth the splurge.
20 Go Cheap On: Tennis Bag
A lot of people see what these top pros carry and they want to carry their kits in the same bag. But again, these bags cost a bomb, and they’re created for the pros by sponsors. A lot of these bags are customized and personalized, they have their names stitched into the side for example. But for you, a tennis bag should just be for carrying your rackets and other matchday items.
Forget about spending big bucks on an item to use as a fashion accessory.
Your tennis bag should be functional. There are a lot of great bags out there that will do the job but don’t cost the earth.
19 Worth The Splurge: Gyms
As the fitness industry booms, there are a lot of cheap gyms that are springing up all over the place. But these so-called budget gyms are often crowded, cramped, and a lot of them don’t have a great range of equipment. If you’re going to the gym to enhance your tennis game, improve your fitness in addition to playing matches, you don’t want it to be a chore.
You want to enjoy going to the gym, enjoy your workout in a comfortable a setting as possible. If you’re willing to splurge, you may be able to make use of some really cool equipment. A lot of these gyms are health clubs and have a real spa feel about the place.
18 Go Cheap On: Stringing
Yes of course, stringing a racket is important. It can change the way the racket plays. But when it comes to stringing, there’s a minefield of information out there. Trying to make use of what’s relevant can be tough. It’s fair to say that even the top pros don’t know everything about racket tension, polyester and synthetic strings etc. They have people to take care of it for them. You should do the same. Nowadays, all rackets are strung to a pretty decent level. There’s no point paying extra for the service. However, if you play frequently, you do need to restring your racket periodically throughout the year.
17 Worth The Splurge: Shoes
A lot of people can’t understand why someone would spend so much on tennis shoes. Wear them again and again and they’re going to get battered. You might as well go cheap on shoes, right? But the right footwear can make a whole lot of difference when you’re on the court.
If you’re playing on grass for example, the surface might be slippery. On clay, the clay will get into your shoes so you’re going to need ones that have a good grip.
You don’t need to personalize your shoes, like get your name stitched into them. Save that for when you’ve got sponsors and are earning millions through tennis.
16 Go Cheap On: Training Gear
Let’s be honest here; a lot of people don’t give their 100% when training. They do a bit of this and a bit of that. A lot of people just go through the motions, or work on specific bits of their game. Also, unless you’re a megastar, chances are you’re not going to have tons of people queuing up to watch your training sessions. So, there really is no reason for you to try and look good during training. You’re going to be sweating it out, ironing out flaws in your game. Any old t-shirt and pair of shorts will do. It’s not a fashion show.
15 Worth The Splurge: Rackets
You could all probably anticipate that tennis rackets would be on this side of the list. Simplify the game and it is really all about one thing. It comes down to one piece of equipment. That’s the tennis racket. Back in the day, it used to be a quite humble piece of equipment.
Remember those wooden frames? How tennis rackets have evolved.
They’re pricey anyway, and that’s just a standard racket. But if you’re serious about your game, you’d want to go for something a little better than just a standard store-bought racket. I reckon most would agree, that this is one item of kit you can afford to splurge on.
14 Go Cheap On: Travel Bags
There are a lot of people who just can’t fathom why anyone would want to spend a hefty sum of cash on a travel bag. When I say travel bag, I’m not referring to those sleek leather holdalls. I’m on about a bag that carries your rackets and equipment. Again, a bag within a bag – it just seems ludicrous to some. But it’s necessary. It’ll give your equipment extra protection. It’ll also protect your tennis bag. But how often are you going to be taking flights and going away on tennis tours? Think about it for a sec; is it really worth spending big bucks on?
13 Worth The Splurge: Match Outfits
See a lot of the pros in action and they wear some pretty decent tennis gear during match play. There are a few on tour who use matches as a chance to showcase their fashion sense. Some dress in some truly outlandish outfits. They express themselves on court. You don’t have to go to those lengths. But, heard of the phrase, if you look good you feel good, you play good? That holds true for many people.
If you’re dressed in a really nice outfit on court during a match, you could feel better, physically, and it could psychologically impact your game too.
12 Go Cheap On: Tennis Balls
There are tons of tennis balls out there on the market. Actually, there are just over 200 brands that are approved for sale by the various boards and the International Tennis Federation – the people that matter in this case.
It can be quite a tricky task to choose the right tennis ball.
There are three levels that manufacturers produce; recreational, championship and professional level. Then you can get pressurized, high altitude, extra duty, balls that are better for spin, and those better for certain courts. It’s all about doing your homework. But whichever balls you buy, they shouldn’t go too expensive anyway. It’s the player, not the balls, that will impact your game.
11 Worth The Splurge: Club Memberships
If you’re just playing the game for fun, to while away a weekend afternoon, then it’s not really worth shelling out to join a prestigious tennis club. But if you’re a bit more serious, and want to play against others who are just as, if not more serious about the game, then joining a tennis club is a must. Tennis club memberships are generally quite expensive anyway. But if you want a challenge, and want your game to progress, it’s worth doing your research and finding a club that will be able to elevate your game to the next level through coaching, tournament play etc...
10 Go Cheap On: Practice Rackets
Some would say that unless you’re a top pro, you shouldn’t even have practice rackets. There’s no need. Only those who can afford them, or are good enough to have sponsors, have five or so tennis rackets in their kit bags. They may string them differently, they may be a slightly different weight, players may prefer to use different rackets when playing different balls on different surfaces. But if you’re just playing recreationally, just the one racket, perhaps two if you play a lot, will do. But it’s best to use the one racket for practice and match play so that you get really comfortable with the same racket.
9 Worth The Splurge: Grips
Grips are a part of your racket. I’ve said that you should splurge on your racket. Don’t underestimate the importance of grips either. They’re vitally important. They affect the feel of your racket, how you handle it. You want to hold your racket in comfort. You don’t want the handle to be too slim or too thick.
You don’t want a grip that will give you blisters.
You want a grip that will make you feel extremely comfortable when holding the racket. You might have to experiment with a few types of grip before finding the right ones. You may also have to use more than one on your handle. It’s just a matter of trying them out.
8 Go Cheap On: Training Equipment
Of course, there’re plenty of things that you can do as a part of your training. But the best players always say that actually training with a racket in hand is the best type of training that you can do. When you’re out on the court, there’s no need for high-tech equipment. If you fancy something a little different, it’s worth splurging on a club membership. But when left to your own devices, keep your training simple.
There’s plenty of cheap and effective training equipment that you can buy. Look how built Rafael Nadal got using stretchy elastic bands. They’re cheap, can be taken anywhere, and it’s a type of resistance training that can improve flexibility and core stability.
7 Worth The Splurge: Post-Match Recovery
If you’re attempting to make a go of things in the tennis world, it’s likely that your matches, tournaments are going to come thick and fast. You may play once, twice, or even a few times on the weekends in tournament play. There may be mid-week matches at your local club after work. If you want to climb through the tennis ranks, be at your best, fit and ready to perform, you’re going to have to have a post-match recovery routine. This could be something simple like eating certain foods and having a good sleep. But you could go a step further and shell out for ice baths or a post-game deep tissue massage.
6 Go Cheap On: Hybrid Tennis Strings
A lot of people won’t even know what hybrid stringing is. But they hear the phrase, learn that the pros use hybrid stringing techniques, and feel that they must do the same in order to get anywhere. There are more and more players that are using hybrid strings though.
It’s a technique that basically involves using strings of different qualities and varying the tension of the strings.
Different thicknesses can be used, and different string materials. It’s essentially, so that as a player, you can fine-tune your playability. But this can be pricy. Unless you’re playing at a high level, there’s no point getting pernickety about things.
5 Worth The Splurge: Hotels
When I write hotels, I don’t mean travel and live in luxury at every tennis tournament you play in. But if you’re going to an important tournament, a big event, in a nice part of the world, it’s worth spending a bit of cash on somewhere that’s more than half decent. It’s worth splurging on a hotel that has the works; a swimming pool, a gym area, perhaps somewhere where you can go to get a massage. Oh and of course, you want to spend the night in comfort, get a good night’s sleep so you’re properly rested before the important event.
4 Go Cheap On: Travel
Travelling encompasses driving, flying, basically getting to and from tournaments. If you’ve got any aspirations to make it big, or even if you just play for leisure, it’s likely that you’re going to be travelling for tennis quite a bit. As you progress through the ranks you’re just going to be travelling more and more. It can be pretty expensive. Even with the pros, a significant amount of their earnings go on paying for flights for themselves and their crew. It’s a pretty big expense, but if you’re savvy, you can save a lot of cash, which will enable you to have more cash to enjoy at the destination itself.
3 Worth The Splurge: Joining Tournaments
I’ve already mentioned that it’s worth paying a bit more to join a decent club. If you do so, they’ll probably organize events, various tournaments that you can get into. But there are quite a lot of tournaments around, at different clubs, in different places, that you can apply to be a part of.
Usually, if going about joining tournament play in this manner, you’ll have to pay a fee. It’s worth it.
If you’re serious about tennis and want to test yourself against others who have the same goals as you, it’s worth spending cash on tournament play. It’s only in this way, in the heat of battle, will you know what you’re made of.
2 Go Cheap On: Flights
If you’re an amateur or have aspirations of making it big, chances are you’re going to travel to tournaments. Some travel may involve the odd flight. Flights are pretty pricy. Even the pros find a lot of their cash going on flights to and from tournaments. It’s only the top pros, some of the greatest players of all time, who fly in first class pretty much everywhere they go. But everyone else has to make sacrifices. A large number of pros fly with cheaper airlines in economy class. If you’re not at that level, don’t even think about splurging your cash on extravagant travel options. Don’t even think about that until you’re a multiple Grand Slam winner.
1 Worth The Splurge: Watches
Tennis players and their watches – it’s a big thing nowadays. As soon as a match is over, players are seen putting beautiful timepieces on their wrists. That’s because most of them – the top players anyway – are sponsored by watch companies. These guys don’t really need to splurge on luxury timepieces as they get them for free. But if you’re a tennis player and want to look the part, it’s worth investing in a watch. You could opt for a fashion statement which you wear to and from a match, or you could go for a sporty one like Nadal wears that you can wear while you’re playing.