Tennis is known as a gentlemen's game, both in attitude and in appearance. Court conduct and etiquette extend all the way from the court into the locker room. Players are advised to dress first and foremost for comfort and competition, so long as the wardrobe is appropriate for the location where they are playing. It's always a good idea to call ahead if playing at a tennis or country club to find out the specifics of the club's dress code.
Tennis clothing rules for men have changed a great deal since the game was invented. At one time men wore what almost appeared like a church clothing when playing tennis: long dress pants, dress shirt buttoned up and tucked in, often times with a sweater worn over top. Now the common uniform for men's tennis at all levels is a pair of tennis shorts (shorts that come above the knee, have pockets and are commonly made from athletic fabric such as polyester or moisture-wicking material), a tennis polo shirt (often also made of wicking material designed to keep players cool), and a hat or headband. Some players prefer to play in T-shirts when allowed. Depending on the venue where you play, you might be required to wear a shirt with a collar.
When tennis was just beginning to be played by women, they would play in full dresses and gowns, sometimes still with corsets and long sleeves. As time progressed, the clothing became tennis skirts that came to the knee or just above the knee. Women would wear polo tops or tanks in the summer. In the modern day, women's tennis has advanced to basically become a place for fashion with many on the game's top women players designing their own clothing. For the most part women are still encouraged to wear something resembling a skirt when the play, though often under the skirt are athletic compression shorts. And for the tops, woman can generally where anything that gives them support and doesn't show too much skin. While some clubs may have more strict rules, it is almost always safe for women to wear a tennis skirt and a polo top.
Colors, Footwear and Other Issues
The item of clothing that is of the most concern to all tennis clubs or courts is the player's footwear. A tennis court can be severely marked up by shoes with black soles. These shoes are strictly forbidden from even most public courts. Players are encouraged to wear tennis sneakers or at the very least, athletic shoes that do not have marking soles. For some court surfaces, such as clay courts, clubs may require that players where strictly tennis sneakers only.
There are some very famous and exclusive tennis clubs that require certain wardrobes or clothing colors to be worn. The All England Club, which hosts the Championships of Wimbledon, requires that players wear only white clothing. Because other clubs may have similar rules, it is always a good idea to call ahead when playing at a new venue.
- Photo Credit tennis image by razorconcept from Fotolia.com
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