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You don’t have to buy lots of professional gear to play tennis. But you still want to make sure you’ve got the right equipment and clothing to get started so we’ve put together a basic guide.
You can buy tennis rackets in most major sports shops and there are also lots of online retailers.
Alternatively you can try a specialist tennis shop. Large tennis clubs often have a pro shop, so it’s worth checking with some of the clubs in your local area. You can use our find a court search to find contact details for clubs near you.
One of the most important things to get right when buying a racket is the grip size. If it’s too big or small you can sustain injuries like tennis elbow.
There’s a simple way to test that you’ve got the right grip size – when you hold the handle, there should be a 1cm gap between your thumb and first finger.
In other words, you should be able to slide the forefinger of your free hand between the tips of your fingers and your thumb (see image).
If the grip isn’t quite the right size then you can buy an overgrip to put over the top which will enlarge the grip size slightly.
You also need to make sure you get the right size of racket for children. Check out our size guide to the right, which gives you an idea of what you should be buying for your child based on their age.
Please note that these are just a guide and it’s also a good idea to ask a coach if possible.
There is a wealth of rackets on the market for adults. If you’re new to the sport, you don’t want to get an advanced racket.
It’s best to start off with a racket designed for beginner or intermediate players. Most of the major brands produce rackets like this, which provide a good balance of power and control.
It’s worth doing some research on the internet about what’s available. Some things you might want to consider are how heavy you want your racket to be, how large a head you would like and the size of sweetspot.
It’s also a really good idea to try before you buy wherever possible. Specialist shops usually offer a demo service where you can take the racket away for a few days to try it out and make sure it’s right for you.
If you’ve never bought a tennis racket before, it’s a good idea to go to a specialist tennis shop or a club pro shop because they’ll have salespeople who are able to offer expert advice on what type of racket will be right for you.
You don’t need specialist tennis gear to play, but you should wear sports clothes.
However, please note that if you start to compete in LTA sanctioned events then you will need to have recognised tennis clothing (which still includes T-shirts) to meet with our tournament regulations. The tournament organiser should specify if there are any other restrictions on clothing.
Local, non-sanctioned leagues and tournaments may also issue their own rules and guidelines on clothing so it’s worth checking with the league secretary or competition organiser.
You can start playing in ordinary trainers, but if you begin to play more seriously then you should invest in some tennis shoes.
Running shoes are not designed for the quick changes of direction that you need to make in tennis. Also Places to Play will often ask that you wear tennis shoes as other footwear may damage or mark the courts.
Mini Red (8U)