Everything but the kitchen sink – what every player needs on hand.

When you see the professionals walk out onto Arthur Ashe stadium, Centre Court or even court 19 way out in the back of the grounds they are usually carrying one huge racket bag and one equally huge duffel bag.  What could they possibly need on court with them that would fill two large bags?

On average they have about 8 to 12 rackets all newly strung and perhaps (depending on the player) with differing tensions. Whether they are nervous, how new/heavy the balls are, the weather, the surface and so forth will determine what tension a pro wants their racket at. It makes a difference. Too tight and the pro won’t be able to generate the power he/she wants and too loose and you can say goodbye to any control. Alongside the numerous rackets are towels, sunscreen, computer (there is A LOT of idle time at tournaments), phone, book, grips (I would go through at least one grip a match) and all kinds of medicinal products: band aids, wrap, pre-wrap (so you don’t lose all the hair on your body when you take the wrap off), padding, ibuprofen, neosporin…the list may carry on depending on the pro.  There are also many changes of clothes as someone like Andy Roddick will go through a handful of shirts in one match and that’s after warming up however many times before his match.  There might even be different shoes in there – running shoes, casual shoes, flip flops – for off court activities.

So what does the non-professional player need to carry on court with them?  Actually, the list is pretty similar to the pro’s.  Though the fact that you won’t need as many rackets or changes of clothes etc. means you can use just one bag.

Here is a list of some of the essentials:

  • At least two rackets of the same tension – that way if one breaks you can pick up the other one and carry on as if nothing happened.
  • A towel – it’s really annoying to lose your racket because the sweat dripping down your arm makes it impossible to hold onto the racket.
  • A bottle – water is fine of course but if you are a sweater then some kind of gatorade or coconut juice is recommended.
  • Sunscreen should be applied at least 15 minutes before going out into the sunshine for it to work effectively. It also gives you time to wash your hands after applying.
  • A snack – if your match is long or you have come straight from work then keeping a banana or granola bar in your bag is a great way to keep your energy up. Avoid high sugary substances as they won’t fuel you for long.
  • A cap or hat – keep the sun off your face and the hair out of your eyes.
  • A change of clothes for after the match or if you have a second match.
  • Any medicine you might need – band aids, wrap, inhaler etc.
  • A can of tennis balls.
  • A jump rope.

Any other items you add to the list are up to you!

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