If you watch tennis, you should notice that none of the players wear gloves. While in other ‘bat’ or ‘racquet’ sports like golf, baseball, and even football, the players wear gloves. There is no association law against this, so why don’t tennis players wear gloves?
Tennis players don’t wear gloves because it reduces the feel of the racquet in the hands, causes hands to sweat more, and doesn’t allow the racquet to move freely in the hands. Gloves reduce maneuverability and can cause blisters, and they are illegal in some leagues.
Let’s get on the court and explore why tennis players don’t wear gloves, some advantages of wearing gloves in certain situations, and why tennis players prefer to have calluses on their hands while playing the game!
Here are the 4 main reasons why tennis players don’t wear gloves.
1. Gloves Affect A Tennis Player’s Feel On The Racquet
Tennis is a ‘feel’ game between the racquet’s grip and the tennis player’s hands and fingers. Tennis players would spend a great deal of time working on the racquet’s feel to be able to control it when imparting spin to their shots.
Any barrier between the hands and grip of the racquet will adversely affect the player’s ability to feel how the racquet is moving and position the racquet properly to execute the type of shot they want to hit.
Wearing a glove would result in poor control over the racquet and loss of accuracy and shot control which would be detrimental to the player’s ability to play the game properly in terms of accuracy and power.
Another consideration here is that the grips themselves are designed to impart the best possible traction and allow the grip to release in the hands between shots which gives the player the time to change or move their hand on the grip to prepare for the next shot.
The glove would create too much traction and slow the release between the grip and the hands, preventing the player from adjusting the grip in split seconds. The racquet would become ‘stuck’ or ‘sticky’ in the hands, making it very difficult to move the racquet consistently.
2. Gloves Make A Tennis Player’s Hands Sweat Excessively
During the few seconds between playing a shot and waiting for the return, tennis players release the grip slightly, creating airflow over the palm and fingers that allows sweat to evaporate off the hands.
This prevents the hands from becoming overly sweaty and affecting the grip on the racquet and stops the racquet from sliding and slipping in the hands during play. Having gloves would increase the amount of sweat on the hands as there would be no airflow over the hands.
With excessive sweat on their hands, the racquet would become very difficult to control accurately and consistently, making the control and execution of strokes erratic. Because tennis players require precision over their racquets to impart topspin and backspin on the ball, having the racquet sliding in the hands is not an option.
3. Tennis Players Don’t Wear Gloves As It Would Cause Blisters
In most racquet, bat, and club sports, blisters are the enemy, and tennis is no different. Blisters on the hands prevent proper control and can be extremely painful, too, requiring time off from the game to recover.
If you have ever had blisters on your hands from playing golf or tennis, you will know how uncomfortable this can be.
While it may seem counterintuitive that wearing gloves in tennis could cause blisters, this happens because the racquet cannot move freely with the extra traction and will cause friction between the racquet, glove, and hands.
4. Gloves Prevent A Tennis Player From Developing Calluses
Gloves would prevent calluses, yet tennis players opt to not to wear them? As strange as this may seem, there is some merit to this. Unlike other sports where calluses can interfere with the control and grip of the club, bat, or racquet, tennis is a little different.
As tennis players use their racquets, calluses develop on the fingers, and the hands, which helps to prevent the racquet from sliding and moving in the hands, and they form part of the grip that players use to seat the racquet comfortably in their hands.
You could say that calluses on the hands add to the player’s ability to grip and seat the racquet in their hands, and wearing a glove, even though it would prevent calluses, would not be worn precisely because calluses are desired.
When Should Tennis Players Wear Gloves?
There could be certain circumstances under which a tennis player may opt to wear a glove, including where the player has an injury and requires some additional support, severe blisters, or adverse weather conditions.
If a tennis player has injuries to his playing hand but is not severe enough to require time off to heal, then temporarily wearing a glove may be an option. This will prevent further injuries to the hand while playing.
If there are light blisters, then wearing a glove could allow the player to perform during a match without too much discomfort, and the same would apply where the player has a cut or abrasion that needs some protection against the friction of the grip.
Another situation where a tennis player would wear a glove is if the weather is very cold. Ice cold weather creates stiffness in the hands, and wearing a glove for the first few games or first set will help the hands warm up and improve the blood flow.
With very cold hands, the player would struggle to feel the racquet in the hands, and the glove would help the hands to warm up and increase the sense of feeling through the fingers and hands.
Tennis players don’t wear gloves because the cons outweigh the pros, and if gloves were beneficial, then the top players would be wearing them, and the only time you would see a pro player wearing a glove or any hand protection would be where there is an injury.
The fundamental requirements for control over the racquet are not favorable for using a glove on the dominant hand. Because a glove would interfere with the player’s ability to control the racquet, increase sweat, and risk blisters, tennis players don’t wear gloves.