Updated: Aug 6, 2022
Ever wonder what professional tennis players carry in their kit bags? Here is your ultimate checklist with the top 10 essentials…
1: Racquets – generally players will carry six racquets. All racquets will be numbered (1 thru to 6). Many players will change racquets every time new balls are used in the match. My suggestion to junior players would be to always carry three racquets, this will give you peace of mind, should you break a string early in the match.
2: Strings – whether you carry sets of strings (pre-cut string lengths for one racquet) or a spool, it is essential to ensure you have enough string for five re-strings per tournament. This may increase incase you are playing on a clay court. Before handing in your racquet to the stringer, ask to see a racquet the stringer has recently strung so as you can get an idea as to the tension his machine is producing.
3: Grips – both base grips (the original grip) and over grips (the thin grips that you put over the base grip) are important to carry. If you are playing in a hot, humid, climate the sweat may go through all the way to the base grip. Simply replacing the grip with a fresh over grip will be a short term solution. My suggestion would be to replace the base grip once for every five over grips you use.
4: Stencil Ink – if you are lucky enough to be sponsored by a racquet or string company, go to the effort of putting the company logo on your racquet.
5: Warm up equipment – this includes a skipping rope, thera band, reflex ball, tennis balls, toning ball, yoga mat etc. All these pieces of equipment if used properly will decrease the risk of injury and allow you to be fully warmed up and ready to compete from the first ball.
6: Recovery equipment – the better/quicker you can recover, the better chance you have of performing well in the next round. Equipment such as a foam roller, trigger point ball/golf ball, massage gun, deep heat gels etc. will all help you recover at an accelerated rate.
7: Clothing – additional t-shirts, shorts, socks, shoe laces, caps, wrist bands etc should all be carried in your kit bag. I encourage players to change their shirt and shorts after the end of each set. You feel better and it’s a sign that fresh clothes will give you a fresh start in the second set.
8: Headphones – many ‘ tour level’ players enjoy listening to music before a match. Most players will have several different playlists and depending on what mental state they wish to get into will determine which playlist they listen to. Wearing headphones will also send a message to others that you want to be alone and get your mind where it needs to be prior to competition.
9: Nutrition/hydration – bananas, electrolytes, carbohydrate gels, bottles of water, honey (a great simple carbohydrate to get you over the finish line) can all enhance your performance. Once you run out of fuel getting the job done will be far more challenging.
10: Miscellaneous – sunscreen, extra shoe laces, tape (for blisters on your hand), deodorant for after the match, towels, approved medication (e.g.: paracetamol for head-aches), additional shoes, sandals to wear after the match etc are all items that may be needed, only sparingly, but carry them just in case.