Tennis is designed along universal principles. The court measurements are identical throughout the world. Play takes place on grass, hard courts, clay or indoor carpet. The variable throughout the history of tennis has been the equipment players use. Fashion, graphite rackets and heavier balls all have helped the game develop alongside the improving strengths and demands of players.
The tennis racket has changed dramatically over the past 30 years. The racket frame, originally made from wood, is now constructed from lighter, long-lasting, man-made materials. You can choose between a frame made from aluminum or graphite. The weight and thickness of the frame should reflect the size and strength of the player. You will be able to extract more power with a heavier racket, but you will tire quicker than a player using a racket suited to his weight and strength. The only tried and tested method for selecting a racket is trial and error.
The materials used to string a racket are nylon, or titanium in some advanced rackets. The strings run horizontally and vertically through the frame. They can be “strung” at a number of different tensions depending on the type of player using the racket.
When including the handle, the tennis racket must not measure more than 29 inches in length. The width of the frame cannot exceed 12.5 inches. The length of the hitting surface, from the top of the frame to the top of the handle, must not exceed 15.5 inches. The width of the hitting surface is restricted to 11.5 inches, meaning the frame itself cannot be made thicker than one inch.
The Tennis Ball
Made from a hollow rubber core, the tennis ball is required, for tournament play, to be yellow or white on the outside. The International Tennis Federation requires the ball measure between 2.5 inches and 2.63 inches in diameter. It also must bounce between 53 and 58 inches after being dropped from a height of 100 inches. The more a tennis ball is used, the slower it flies through the air, and the less it bounces.
There is no restriction on what players can wear when playing tennis, apart from the Wimbledon championships in England, where players are still required to wear all-white clothing. Comfort should be a major consideration when selecting clothing. White was traditionally used because it reflects the sun and keeps the player cooler, although as technological sportswear has developed, this theory has been rendered irrelevant. Cotton has been replaced by advanced fabrics that include Dri-Fit or ClimaLite technology that keep away moisture and help the player feel dry. Select a pair of shorts or training pants that have pockets. Players always keep one or two spare tennis balls on their person when serving to save time and retain fluency.