Let’s say you have been invited to play tennis with some friends or you are heading to the tennis court for the first time. What should you wear? Before even thinking of the possibilities, always check with the tennis club to find out if they have a specific dress code. Many clubs have rules concerning sleeveless shirts or even hats, while T-shirts, collared shirts and tank tops are usually safe to wear.
Shoes and Socks
Be aware that wearing tennis shoes is not only required by most tennis clubs, but also lowers your risk of injuries. Tennis shoes are specifically designed for side-to-side running and offer optimal support, traction and stability for ankles and feet. Tennis is a game of sliding, sudden stops, lateral movements and quick changes of directions, therefore wearing tennis shoes is very important. Besides, unlike running shoes and sneakers, tennis shoes prevent any damage being done to the tennis surface, especially if you are playing on a clay court.
That being said, aim for comfortable clothing. Keep in mind that they should fit loose and allow you ease of movement, which is crucial when playing tennis. Avoid 100 percent cotton clothes, as they will tend to stick to the body. Nowadays, tennis outfits are made from synthetic fabrics, which are designed to draw moisture and sweat away from the skin and keep you dry, and they also have a lighter feel when worn.
There is no rule about colors, but if you are playing outdoors, wearing light-colored clothes always helps, since light colors absorb less heat and keep you cool. If you are planning to play in Wimbledon next year, remember to wear white, as required by it’s dress code.
There are some practical accessories you could use while on a tennis court: sweatbands on the forehead or wrist can be helpful to wipe away sweat inbetween serves. Try to keep a towel at hand if you feel your hands are getting slippery. You can wear a hat or a cap to protect yourself from the sun. Last, but not least, a tennis bag is very useful if you want to keep you rackets, balls and towels tidied up.
Tennis shorts are your best choice. If you decide to wear standard sport shorts, you will need pockets comfortable enough for you to store spare tennis balls. Regarding the shirt, you can either go with the classy look (polo shirt or collared shirt), with the standard look (t-shirt) or with the aggressive look (sleveless shirt, if allowed).
From Left to Right: Federer (Polo), Murray (Standard), Nadal (Sleeveless)
Women can choose a one-piece tennis dress or a shirt paired with a standard tennis short or skirt. If you decide to wear a skirt or a dress, you will need a ball clip attached to the waistband to store spare tennis balls. If you enjoy the feeling and elegance of the skirt but you hate to use the ball clip, you could wear a “skort” (it has internal pockets), which is basically a pair of shorts with a fabric resembling a skirt.
From Left to Right: Azaranka (Dress), Sharapova (Shorts), Kirilenko (Skirt)