As great as tennis is, it is mainly played outdoors, and one thing that is in the outdoors that isn’t indoors is the elements. Rain is always a big question mark when I meet new tennis players, and everyone wonders if you can play tennis in the rain? That is why I made this article to explain in-depth all aspects of rain and tennis.
So, can you play tennis in the rain?
Generally, you can play tennis in the rain. However, you should be careful, especially on hard and grass courts, because they can get slippery. Also, if it rains heavily, then I would consider rescheduling your tennis session. If it rains lightly, then there are no issues playing tennis in the rain.
You should be aware of many things when considering whether you should play tennis in the rain or not. First things first, I’ll explain what you must know about rain and tennis, and then I’ll give you some tips on how to make the most of playing tennis in the rain.
- Things to consider if you play tennis while it rains
- Tips for playing tennis in the rain
- How does rain affect a tennis court (All courts reviewed)
- How long does it take for a tennis court to dry?
- How do you dry a tennis court fast?
- What happens if tennis balls get wet?
- Do tennis balls get ruined in the rain?
- Can you dry tennis balls in the dryer?
- Is rain bad for a tennis racket?
- What happens if tennis strings get wet?
- Do wet tennis balls ruin strings?
- My Favorite Tennis Equipment
Things to consider if you play tennis while it rains
There are 4 main things to consider whether you should play tennis while it’s raining. These will determine whether it is totally ok to play in the rain if you can play with caution or whether you should totally skip the session.
Please take note that you can always play tennis while it’s raining but you shouldn’t.
1. Rain amount
The rain amount is the main thing that totally separates whether you should play on the rain or not. If it’s only raining lightly, then it’s probably safe to play. However, if the rain is heavy and you can start to notice puddles on the hard court or that the court is turning to mud if playing on clay, then you shouldn’t play.
Think about the rain amount and the length of it and determine whether you should play or not. You will see it clearly when you are looking at the court and rain.
2. Risk of injury
This all opens up the possibility of injury. Think about it, if the whole area where you are standing, walking, and running is wet and slippery, then there is a good chance you will eventually fall. If you have ever fallen because it’s slippery, you know that it is dangerous, and you can sprain your ankles, get a concussion, or even break bones. Acknowledge this before hitting the court when it’s raining.
3. Courts surface
This is a big one. There are a couple of rules of thumb to follow regarding the court type and rain. Take a look!
Hard court: It can get slippery depending on the rain amount. Light rain often won’t harm, but heavy rain can make puddles on the court, making it unplayable. Be careful of the lines because they will get extremely slippery when wet.
Clay court: Clay courts are maintained with water so that little rain can be even beneficial. However, the line is thin when there will be too much water, so when the clay starts to turn into mud, don’t play on it. It will become extremely slippery and quite dangerous.
Grass court: When it comes to grass court, the slightest moisture will make it really slippery. Think about grass fields, your lawn, etc. I won’t recommend playing even on a slightly wet grass court.
4. Ball’s bounce
Last but definitely not least. The bounce of the tennis ball. Tennis balls are covered in fuzzy felt, and when that gets wet, the ball can double in weight or even more so striking it will require twice as much power as it used to. This alone makes it hard to play tennis when it’s raining.
If you’re lucky and the rain is light, it might not absorb much moisture so fast, especially in clay courts, because the clay will absorb the water before the ball will, until a certain point, that is.
However, the court won’t absorb much water on hard courts, depending on the material the court is made from. Nonetheless, the ball will become wet much faster on hard courts. Also, if it’s raining heavily, a hard court can make puddles appear, and when you strike your ball into that, it won’t even bounce off. At this point, playing tennis in the rain or just after is pointless.
Think and experiment with the ball’s bounce, and you will know whether it is worth your time to start and play tennis.
Tips for playing tennis in the rain
If you decide to play tennis even if it rains, I need to give you some tips and tricks to make most of it and be as safe as possible. Take a look at these tips for playing tennis in the rain!
1. Be aware of your footwork
When you play on a wet court, you need to be unusually aware of your footing. If the whole court is moist and a little slippery, that is dangerous but not the most.
The most dangerous court is one that is half dry and half wet. When there are slippery patches, you are far more likely to slip on that when compared to a fully slippery court. This is because you will get familiar with either dry or slippery surfaces, but it’s a recipe for trouble when they are mixed.
Anyways, look at where you are standing, where your next steps will be, and be more careful than usual, and you will be just fine.
2. Bend your knees
Bending your knees is important when playing in the rain. The tennis ball will be much heavier than normal, so that the bounce will be lower as well. You need to prepare for that by lowering yourself a bit.
In fact, bending your knees is a great practice whether it is raining or not because your overall stance will be more ready, secure, and powerful.
3. Get closer to the net
When it’s raining, and your tennis ball becomes wet, it will absorb moisture and become much heavier. It can even more than double its own weight, so as you can imagine, that is considerably more hard to strike because it requires more power.
That’s why you want to take your game closer to the net, so your strikes don’t need to be so powerful. Also, use volleys because those are really hard for your opponent to receive, especially when the court is wet.
heavy ball, volley more and be closer to net
4. Slide on the court
If you are ready for speed and adrenaline, you need to learn to slide on a wet court. This is quite fun, actually, and it can provide great results.
On a wet court, your shoe’s grip will lose a lot of its power, so you need to take advantage of a bad situation. Sliding is a great skill that will make you able to get to strikes that you wouldn’t normally get, and when you become good at it, your overall performance will improve.
As a bonus, you can use sliding on clay and grass courts because the court will give you a small boost when you slide on them. This way, you can use what you learned when it’s dry.
5. Change strike direction
Again, you can use the slippery court to your benefit by thinking yourself into the opponent’s shoes. Literally.
As we know, the shoes won’t have a lot of traction on a wet court, so striking the ball in different directions and making your opponent move will be a good idea. This makes your opponent stumble and have a real hard time catching your well-placed strikes.
However, you both shouldn’t play for safety reasons when it gets too slippery, even if it would be fun to see your opponent struggle with your strikes.
6. Bring additional supplies
When it’s raining, and you want to play a sport usually played when it’s dry, extra supplies will come in handy. Some important additional supplies may include
- Hat to protect your sight (and glasses if you use them
- Extra clothing such as a rain jacket, shirts, pants, and socks.
- A couple of towels to wipe the water off the racket and yourself
- Extra tennis balls if one gets too wet to play with
If you come up with something useful on your own, don’t hesitate to make use of it.
7. Don’t use natural gut strings
Finally, you shouldn’t use natural gut strings because they won’t do well with water. These strings will stretch when making contact with water, and that will lead to lost tension in the least. Probably even broken strings, and as expensive natural gut strings are, you won’t want that.
If you take tennis even slightly seriously, you should have at least two rackets anyways, so you could equip one with synthetic gut, nylon, or polyester strings if you like to play in the rain.
To optimize your racket specifically for your skillset, you should learn more about different string types and the pros and cons each type provides. It is essential to choose the right strings.
How does rain affect a tennis court (All courts reviewed)
There are 3 main types of tennis courts and rain has a different effect on them all. Let’s start reviewing the most popular court type. Hard court.
1. Hard court
Hard courts have it’s ups and downs when it comes to rain. A benefit of hard courts is that they can be played on when it’s raining. However, everything has its limits, but a small rain won’t hurt.
What you do want to be aware of are the white lines on the court. When they become wet, these will get really slippery, so be sure you don’t step on a line when moving with speed.
In addition, if the court is well built, and even, then there won’t be additional problems. On the other hand, if the court is uneven from some points, paddles will form when enough water gets onto it, and they can ruin the whole court. This is because when you strike a ball on a puddle, it will stay there and won’t bounce.
If there are only small puddles or too much water has poured on the court, you should look for a tennis court squeegee to dry the worst parts off. Most public courts and all tennis clubs should have one.
2. Clay court
Clay court can be the best choice for rainy tennis, or it can be a disaster. You will shortly find out when it’s raining because if the clay starts to turn into mud, it will become so slippery and dirty that there is no way you would even want to play on it.
However, if it’s raining lightly and for a short period of time, then it can even be beneficial to the clay court because it is maintained with water anyways. If a clay court is without water too long, it becomes really dry and dusty, so that that water may be great for your game.
However, the difference between a reasonably moist clay court and a slightly muddy one is thin, so you will notice when it’s time to stop.
3. Grass court
Grass court is the worst court surface type to play on when it’s wet. It feels the same when you walk on a wet lawn, backyard, grass field, etc. It’s as slippery as it gets, so that’s a recipe for injuries.
Also, if you would play on a tennis club’s grass court and it starts raining, it’s highly likely that they won’t allow it and close the court for as long as it is slippery.
This is because if you would fall on a highly maintained quality grass court that is softened by water, it could chop a nice piece out of it, and that could make the court unplayable for a while.
As a final note for different courts, each cour type has a separate optimal outsole for the shoe, so you should learn more about the subject.
How long does it take for a tennis court to dry?
On average, tennis courts dry in a few hours. Many variables make the dry times different, such as court type, the amount of rain, temperature, sunlight, and the time of day. Generally, clay courts dry the fastest and grass courts the longest. Hard courts are in the middle.
Below you can find a table with the average dry times of each court type. If it has been a downpour, then I would recommend skipping your tennis session no matter what. However, if it has been only sprinkling, then assess the situation and play according to that.
|Court type||Average dry time after a light rain||Dry time after a heavy rain|
|Hard court||1 hour||+3 hours|
|Clay court||30 minutes||+2 hour|
|Grass court||2 hours||+6 hours|
Remember that these things affect how fast the court will dry:
- Court type
- Rain amount
- Time of day
How do you dry a tennis court fast?
The best way to dry a hard tennis court fast is to use a tennis court squeegee. This is similar to a floor squeegee but only bigger and meant for a tennis court. Most public courts and all tennis clubs should have one on the edge of the court, use it to push the water off, and spread it to dry faster.
I have a great article where I review 5 of the best tennis court squeegees so if you are lacking one, I highly encourage that you see what different kinds of squeegees are there.
What happens if tennis balls get wet?
When a tennis ball gets wet, it absorbs water, leading to heavier weight up to more than double its dry weight. A heavier ball requires more power from your strikes to get over the net. Also, the ball will lose its bounce, and it might be deformed when it’s dry again.
Do tennis balls get ruined in the rain?
Rain doesn’t ruin tennis balls for good because water won’t get inside of the ball. However, the felt will get really wet, making it either really hard to play with or impossible, depending on how wet it gets. To play tennis normally again, you need to wait until the ball is dry again.
Can you dry tennis balls in the dryer?
Placing your wet tennis balls in a dryer to dry them up quickly is a great way to do so. A dryer will use either a gas burner or an electric heating element to add temperature to the process while the dryer spins quickly and plunges the excess water out. This way, you can dry your tennis balls fast.
Is rain bad for a tennis racket?
Rain will be bad for your tennis racket because a wet tennis ball is heavy, and when it makes contact with the strings, it will cause more damage to them which causes tension loss and increases the chances of them breaking. Also, water can damage your overgrip as well.
What happens if tennis strings get wet?
If you are using natural gut strings, they won’t work well with moisture because the strings absorb it. This leads to swollen fibers, tension loss, and increased chances of breaking. Synthetic gut, nylon, and polyester strings work better with moisture but shouldn’t be soaked in water either.
Do wet tennis balls ruin strings?
Wet tennis balls are more prone to ruin tennis strings than dry ones. This is because wet tennis balls can more than double their regular weight, making them hit the strings with greater force, leading to tension loss and increased chances of breaking.
My Favorite Tennis Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you’ll find my top tennis equipment recommendations would like.
- Racket: My preferred tennis racket is the Wilson Ultra 100 V3. This racket is made from graphite and carbon fiber, making it durable, firm, and easy to swing. The racket weighs 300g, making it lightweight yet not too lightweight to generate power. The racket’s main benefit is power. I like to add multifilament strings to the racket, such as Wilson NXT Soft 16 (recommended tension 52lb/23.5kg), because they are comfortable and soft on the arm with a great feel to the game.
- Tennis balls: Best tennis balls are always pressurized, and I like them having extra-duty felt, which is fit for hard court play. I like Penn Championship Tennis Balls, and so does the ITF because these balls are approved for competitive play. So yes, these are the real deal.
- Tennis shoes: I can’t stress enough the importance of comfortable and supporting shoes. ASICS Gel-Resolution 8 tennis shoes are unique because the balance between durability and support mixed with comfort is something out of the ordinary.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.