IF the one thing that stands in the way of you and a good rally this summer is your tired, patchy kit, read on for some tips on how to revamp your tennis wardrobe. We asked Lee Child, former Wimbledon competitor and tennis coach at Stoke Park, for guidance.
“This is the most important part of your tennis kit. Go for one of the main brands such as Nike, Fila, Adidas or Reebok to ensure quality. Quite a few people just buy running trainers, but tennis shoes are quite different because you’re not running in a straight line; you’re constantly turning. Running shoes lack the support on the side that you need in tennis.”
“Your feet can get really sore and blistered in tennis from all the rubbing that comes with turning and sprinting. Go for a tennis sock: I rate Thorlo (www.thorlo.com) – they’ve got special padding designed to cushion the ball and heel of the foot. The socks also save the outer skin from pressure and shearing forces, and wick moisture away to reduce blistering, callus formation and the potential for moisture-related skin damage.”
“Different clubs have different dress codes, for example Wimbledon is all white. White is usually a safe bet – Federer and Nadal are pretty good style examples. People love the headband and wrist-band look, and the baggy shorts and sleeveless tops. I like Fila clothes, because they have a more retro look, which is also popular now. Wearing loose-fitting clothes is important so you can get around easily without feeling restricted.”
“It’s really important to go to a good sports shop for your racket. Try at least three or four before you commit. Weight – heavy enough to deliver power, light enough to handle easily – and grip size are the two key considerations. If you have your hand around the grip, you need to have a finger space between finger and thumb. Maintenance is also important: it all depends on how often you play, but you should restring once or twice a year. And don’t leave the racket in the car boot heat and cold as it make the strings go dead.”