Tennis is a relatively easy sport to play when it comes to the tennis equipment needed to play the game, with the basics consisting of a strung racquet, balls and the right athletic clothing. However, whilst it is not necessary to break the bank when it comes to buying your equipment, especially as a beginner, making sure you have the right gear can make a big difference to the enjoyment you get from the game and your results on the court.
Tennis Equipment – Racquets
The first tennis equipment in any players’ repertoire is a tennis racquet which consists of a handled frame with an open hoop area across which a network of strings is tightly stretched.
Traditionally, frames were made of wood, but, as technology has evolved, most are now manufactured from composite materials, including carbon fibre or fibreglass, or metals such as titanium alloys. Strings, formerly made of catgut, are now primarily made from synthetic materials including nylon polyamide, and other polymers.
When buying a racquet, however, there are a number of other factors to consider, apart from how it is made. These include length, weight, grip and head shape. These all affect how you hit the ball, so you want to find something that suits your game and level of ability.
For beginners, a head size of 100 square inches (250 square cm) or more is recommended to give them a better chance of making contact with the ball. Having a racquet with a larger head size gives you more space to hit the ball and allows you to hit the ball in the sweet spot more often.
The best beginner tennis racquets will usually have a bigger sweet-spot allowing you to easily build up the habit of hitting the tennis ball correctly. It Is also advisable to use a lighter racquet – 300 grammes or less without the strings – with a length no longer than 27 inches (70 cm) for adults, and shorter for children.
Grip is another important factor in the tennis equipment. Whether buying your first racquet or as an experienced player, you need to find the one that is the most comfortable for you. So try out a racquet before handing over your money to make sure that it suits your grip.
Racquets can be bought online, from a sporting goods store or from your local pro shop. Buying online may be cheaper – although watch out for the shipping costs – but the usual recommendation is to buy one in person so that you can get a feel for it in your hands first.
Here’s our in-depth piece on what are the factors to consider before buying a tennis racquet.
There are many tennis racquets from which to choose, but, as a beginner, here are three of the best racquets.
Tennis Racquet – Head TI S6
This best-selling racquet has a wealth of features that make it an ideal choice for beginners. With a frame made from titanium woven into the graphite of the racquet, the TI S6 is lightweight and flexible, yet offers enough stiffness to provide control and power. It is also has a very large 115 inch head and a big sweet spot which gives players more surface on which to strike the ball.
Another feature of this racquet is the extra-long 27.75 inch handle which provides for extra reach and help when serving. And, at only 225 grammes, the racquet is light, and easy to play shots with and swing.
Tennis Racquet – Babolat-Drive 115
At just over 250 grammes, this racquet is perfect for somebody just starting out in tennis. It is heavy enough to provide power and stability, but is not too cumbersome, and with a thick, solid frame, provides a lot of power without too much effort having to be expended.
The head size is large – 115 inches – and the Cortex dampening system reduces the vibrations that a player feels when striking the ball.
- Babolat Racquets Review here
- Wilson Racquets Review here
- Prince Racquets Review here
- Head Racquets Review here
- Dunlop Racquets Review here
- Volkl Racquets Review here
- Technifibre Racquets Review here
- Yonex Racquets Review here
Tennis Racquet – Prince Textreme Tour 100T
This racquet is comfortable to use and allows players to easily feel and control the ball. The name of the racquet comes from the Textreme material used in its construction, a strong and light material which can also be found in Formula 1 cars.
One noticeable feature is the frame, which helps cut down the vibrations a player experiences when hitting a tennis ball. Furthermore, it is lightweight and easy to swing.
Finally, but not least, it is priced lower than many of its competitors.
Other Notable Tennis Racquets for Beginners:
Dunlop Srixon Revo 100S:
This is less for a beginner, more for someone who has been playing the game for a while and has fair idea of what he/she wants. This racquet adds a lot of potential for spin along with power that most other racquets provide as well. Also, this racquet has a high launch angle, allowing for groundstroke depth and also ensuring that even tennis players with medium length strokes will be able to keep the ball deep on the court.
Babolat Pure Drive 110:
Not the best looking racquet – although some might disagree with me – and the reason I say that is because it’s got a slightly more plastic-ky look to it than you would want. It’s a racquet that’s quite high on power, so those booming forehands will be pleased to hold this one and thank you for buying it but be careful during crunch situations where over-hitting might be bit of a worry. Lot of spin as well. Also, not recommended for those looking for a more artistic way of playing tennis, bit more touch and technique than just raw, brute force.
Prince Textreme Tour 100P:
A Textreme racquet helps flexibility for the players and also adds stability for those playing, combining control with speed. A good balance allows groundstrokes to be hit with equal efficiency and the material reduces its weight by 20% as compared to other usual carbon racquets. Its large face despite the lower weight allows for it to get a better sweet spot for the strokes. Lovely racquet to own.
Wilson Burn 100S:
The Wilson Burn 100s is built for the baseliner who loves to power-pack his or her strokes. There’s Spin Effect Technology thanks to its 18×16 string pattern but that also allows for control. The extra power and spin, however, means there’s the racquet frame is stiff and but there is enough stability while playing at the net. The biggest advantage that one can extract out of a Burn 100S is while serving and if you want to aid your booming serves with a racquet, this is the one to buy.
Wilson Blade 104
Serena Williams endorses and uses the Wilson Blade 104, and is quite easily one of the best women’s tennis racquets around. One of its brightest features is power while its maneuverability is a huge plus as well, and its large head, at 104 square inches, allows the user a bigger sweet spot (Angell TC97 Pro or a Babolat Pure Drive is a similar racquet brand with a smaller head if that’s what you are looking at). The length is longer than most racquets too, but it’s also one of the most comfortable ones around that will allow you to play on without getting very tired. This is slightly costlier than the others mentioned above, however.
Yonex EZone DR Feel
This is a step up from the Yonex EZone DR Feel, and that means it has all the qualities of its predecessor, including a easy-weighed frame, innovative power along with other features that work in favour of the players’ comfort. What’s even better with the DR racquet is it’s focussed more on comfort and speed, and its Quake Shut Gel in the handle minimizes vibrations to the hand.
Tennis Equipment – Balls
Having bought your racquet the next requirement is tennis balls, which are filled with air and are surfaced by a uniform felt-covered rubber compound. The felt delays flow separation in the boundary layer which reduces aerodynamic drag and gives the ball better flight properties.
Modern tennis balls conform to certain criteria when it comes to weight, size and their ability to bounce, and are usually yellow or white.
Whilst tennis balls are usually standard, there are some which are tailored for specific surfaces, such as clay or grass. However, for the beginner or general player, it is usually recommended that balls which are suitable for all surfaces are chosen.
It is recommended that you have at least three or four balls with you on the court so you do not have to retrieve them after every point or service. It should also be noted that tennis balls begin to lose their bounce as soon as the can in which they come is opened. This means that balls need to be replaced at regular intervals.
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Here are three to consider:
Tennis Balls – Wilson US Open Extra Duty
This is one of the toughest tennis ball in the world today, and is made to last because it is pressurised and is usually used on hard court surfaces. Its felt is made of premium-quality wool that makes the ball thicker. The ball is well-known for its durability and consistency and is very responsive with a good bounce.
Tennis Balls – Dunlop Grand Prix Hard Court Ball
This brand of tennis ball is famous for its secret core rubber formula, made up of 14 ingredients which makes it very durable, and means the bounce of the ball cannot easily be worn off. Its felt is woven to give a certain special feel for the users.
In addition, Dunlop has used the MaxGlo Technology, which makes the ball 14% brighter than normal tennis balls, giving the player a faster reaction time.
Tennis Balls – Penn Championship Extra Duty Tennis Ball
The best thing about this tennis ball is its very long lifespan. As compared to most tennis balls in the market today, it is noted for its durability.
This is mainly because of the natural rubber material in the ball which provides consistent bounce and speed, giving users higher playability and reduced impact. The interlocking fibres in its felt also adds to the longevity of the ball, whilst the elastic seams are woven deep in order to reduce cracking.
Tennis Equipment – Shoes
Playing tennis means a lot of footwork, both back and forth and side to side, and you need to stop and go quickly. This makes a good pair of tennis shoes an essential piece of equipment for any player, whatever their level.
Whilst people may be tempted to cut corners and buy any trainer or sports shoe that they find on the market, tennis shoes are specially designed to accommodate this type of lateral and forward/backward movement, and should always be chosen over the alternatives, which may not provide the level of support you need and could result in an injury.
There is a vast array of tennis shoes on the market, so there is no shortage of choice. Check out our guide on the factors for choosing the best tennis shoes in the market here. To go with that, have a look at which are the six best tennis shoes for amateurs and professionals here.
Also, here are three suggestions:
Tennis Shoes – Asics Gel Resolution 7
The latest in a long line of shoes popular among professional and club players alike, the Gel-Resolution 7 is a shoe that gives the wearer excellent flexibility without sacrificing stability, support or cushioning. The toe protector in the front of the shoe and the high abrasion rubber outsole ensure long wear, which is covered by a 6-month outsole warranty against excessive wear.
Tennis Shoes – Babolat Jet
Made with aggressive players in mind, this shoe is designed for advanced and professional players who demand the maximum from their equipment. They are very lightweight, weighing just 11.5 ounces – 330 grammes – but have not sacrificed outsole quality and durability to shed the weight. Instead Babolat has worked with experts at Michelin to develop the best type of rubber which offers best traction and durability on the court.
Tennis Shoes – New Balance MC806
The MC806 is a pair of tennis shoes that is focused solely on stability and support and is ideal for those playing on hard courts. They offer plenty of cushioning and support, which means players can focus on their game without having to worry about slipping or rolling an ankle.
Tennis Equipment – Racquet Bags
A good racquet bag is useful to carry all your tennis equipment around in, and should have space enough to accommodate your racquet, balls, some extra clothes and any other accessories you might want to pack, such as a water bottle or a towel.
Here are some to consider:
Racquet Bags – Babolat Club Line 6
Thanks to a durable material this bag can be used as a bag or a backpack, and can keep all items dry on a rainy day. With two large compartments, and one side pocket with a zipper, this bag can store three or four rackets as well as a range of accessories.
Racquet Bags – Wilson Match II
For the occasional tennis player, this bag, renowned for its durability and quality is ideal, allowing one or two racquets to be carried comfortably, whilst leaving space for any extra gear. A small pocket on the front is suitable for carrying small items such as keys, phone or wallet. It also comes with a removable and adjustable padded shoulder strap, which means it is easy to carry it around and in comfort.
Racquet Bags – Head Tour Team 3R Pro Tennis Bag
This bag can store up to three racquets comfortably, and comes with a mesh pocket allowing the user to take anything they need to the court. Its main utility though comes from its firm construction, which makes carrying racquets and all accessories safe all the time. It also comes in a variety of colours, so players are bound to find something that suits their style.