Tennis is fun and exciting to watch and play, but one thing that holds it back in the eyes of many is that it is expensive. Getting into the game, even casually, can cost a decent amount of money compared to other sports.
What are the top reasons why tennis is so expensive in the first place? A lot of factors play into it depending on the level a person hopes to reach.
1. Good Racquets Cost Good Money
There are plenty of racquets a person can purchase to play around with that cost $30 or $40. However, they are designed for the most casual play, meaning they aren’t going to last long at all.
A good tennis racquet is going to cost $200-$250 or more brand new. Serious tennis players need to have at least two racquets, but they can have multiple ones available at all times. It’s pretty easy to spend $1000 or more just on racquets.
2. Strings Wear Out and Break
Buying initial racquets might seem expensive, but the constant stringing adds up as well. Not only do strings cost money, but putting them in will cost one way or the other as well.
Use a stringing service, and it’s going to cost each time. Invest in a stringing machine, and it costs that initial investment as well as any time used to get them in successfully. Competitive players might need to restring a few times a month on each racquet.
3. A Constant Need for Tennis Balls
Tennis balls aren’t built to last. Even the highest quality options will wear out relatively quickly compared to other sports. That’s why there is a constant need to make ball purchases for practice or play.
Buying by the can get expensive. Even buying in bulk starts to get up there in price. To train with balls that play the way they should, they can’t be completely dead. It’s not hard to go through a case of balls a month, which can be $75-$100.
One way to offset the cost of tennis balls a little bit is to use balls over and over again for practice until they completely wear out. Using a fresh can of balls makes sense with a match, but they can then be used for practice until they start to lose all pressure inside.
Even professionals will do this at times, because buying brand new balls to practice with can become very expensive.
4. Court Fees
Some are lucky enough to live in an area where they don’t have to pay court fees to play tennis regularly. Courts are available for the general public, and that helps save money. They might not be in the best conditions, but they work for practice and some match play.
In other situations, people might have no choice but to pay a decent amount of money every single time they take the court. Generally speaking, clay courts cost a little bit more than hard courts. However, the most expensive tennis court, without question, is grass.
Players must spend more money if they play indoors instead of using outdoor courts. Throughout the year, court fees begin to add up. This is a must too, because court time is necessary to improve.
5. Tough on Shoes
Tennis players on hard courts will go through quite a few shoes if they play frequently. That’s what happens when players are running around and changing direction on a hard surface with plenty of grit added to it.
Even the most durable tennis shoes are going to wear out. The good news is that there are brands that offer a six-month warranty on their outsole so that people can trade them in and get something to upgrade to later on.
It’s not required to take tennis lessons. However, it’s virtually impossible to reach a higher level without ever paying for instruction. Lessons can be in a group format or individually. The better the instructor, the more it will cost.
Professional players usually evolve beyond lessons and instead have a personal coach they turn to for training and advice. This can start as young as in the juniors if a player shows enough talent. This can start to cost a lot of money, even if there is some type of arrangement put together for future earnings.
7. Tournament Fees
Every tennis tournament comes with some sort of fee to enter. At the USTA level, it can be somewhere around $50 per tournament. Move up in tournament prestige a bit, and the fees become more and more.
This all starts to add up quite a bit if playing regularly. It causes people to pick and choose where they want to play so that they can get the most bang for their buck.
Tennis players need to move around and play in different locations in order to get the competition they need. Traveling starts to add up for the average player. It might not seem like that big of a deal at first, but when airfare becomes part of the travel plans, things escalate quickly.
Even professional tennis players spend tens of thousands of dollars on airfare alone. They have to go around the world to play in tournaments, and it usually comes out of their pocket. Granted, they mostly make good money, but lower-level players struggle to come up with all the proper funds.
9. Minimal Team Help
Tennis is an individual sport, which means that it’s always going to be more costly than a team sport. In team sports, more people can offset the cost that goes into everything.
The exception to this is anyone who plays on a tennis team at the high school or college level. Colleges will pay for a lot of the team-related costs. Players in college might sometimes find that they have a better setup there than being a low-level professional.
Even at the professional level, not being on a team hurts a player’s finances. A professional basketball or soccer team pays for flights, training, And more. That just doesn’t happen with tennis.
Is Tennis Worth the Price?
With tennis being such an expensive sport to play, there are plenty of people who wonder if it’s even worth it in the end. It depends on the amount of enjoyment a person gets out of the sport, as well as if they can afford it financially.
Playing casually won’t hurt too much at the end of the day. People can minimize their costs quite a bit. It’s when people go all-in with tennis that it really starts to get up there in price. There are always ways to save along the way, but being smart with money makes a difference.