When it comes to tennis, it has a reputation of being an expensive sport which is true. However, the reason behind that and the why is yet to reveal itself, so I will teach you why tennis isn’t cheap in this article.
Tennis is expensive because of the many pieces of equipment needed, such as rackets, shoes, balls, clothing, and more. In addition, the cour fees are often quite expensive, and the price will drastically rise when you take training lessons. Participation in competitions and tournaments is also expensive.
That’s the quick insights to the big picture, but if you want to truly comprehend why tennis is expensive, I need to chop that answer up into 4 main categories and walk you through each one individually.
Why Is Tennis So Expensive?
The main 4 reasons why tennis is expensive are equipment, court fees, training lessons, and competition fees so let’s look at those. Let’s start with equipment.
The essential tennis equipment is a racket, strings, balls, shoes, and clothing, and depending on how you plan and purchase your gear, it can be cheap or expensive. However, in most cases, it’s going to be expensive.
There are many kinds of tennis rackets out there that vary in size, weight, material, benefit, player type, and quality. All of this makes a difference in the rackets price, but the usual price gap in tennis rackets is between $30 and $250; however, you can certainly find rackets that are far more expensive. Thus, the quality will often rise when the price is higher, as you might expect.
Oh, and a tennis racket is essential to restring every year or more often depending on how much you play. A great set of strings usually costs near $20.
When it comes to the balls, you need to have a canful with you at all times because they might break and you will definitely need one to play tennis. In competitive matches, tennis balls are often changed every 6-8 games to maintain the freshness and quality of the ball, so it’s safe to say tennis players need a lot of balls.
Luckily tennis balls aren’t super expensive, and the average price per ball is somewhere near $1, and often it’s below that. However, that does add to the price because you need to buy new ones constantly.
Tennis shoes are crucial if you want to last a full training session or match of tennis. Tennis shoes are specially designed for tennis courts, and they are equipped with increased grip and shock-absorbing properties compared to other sports shoes.
The average price of tennis shoes is between $60 to $160, and you can find pairs from both sides of the gap so you can get shoes with affordable price and value, or you can get pairs with outstanding quality. Again, this is the athlete’s choice, and it will affect whether tennis is really expensive or not.
Then there is the clothing. The most used tennis clothing are t-shirts, activewear, shorts, and skirts. Also, different caps are often even necessary because of the burning sunlight. As you might suspect, these aren’t cheap either, especially if they are from a reputable tennis brand such as Wilson. Head and wristbands are popular as well among tennis enthusiasts.
Then there are other equipment and accessories that a tennis player can invest in. These include stringing machines, tennis bags, grips, ball hoppers, ball machines, and more. Most players often gave grips and tennis bags; however, some people have invested in ball machines that can cost anywhere between $300 and $3000 or more.
Again, the tennis athlete’s choices, passion, and seriousness greatly determine how expensive the tennis equipment will really be. Now, let’s move on to court fees.
2. Court Fees
There is a lot of variation between the costs of court fees. Depending on whether you train in New York or Texas, the price differences can be huge.
For example, you can find affordable tennis courts that cost $10/h per person. On the other hand, a court with a better location and overall quality can cost $40/h per person, and there are courts with far higher hourly costs.
There are free tennis courts as well scattered around most cities; however, in many cases, they are super popular, and the wait times can be 1-3hours or more, so you need to rise early or go late if you want to get your game on without insane waiting times.
3. Training Lessons
Tennis lessons really up the overall cost of the sport. There are private and shared tennis lessons and the average price to attend for one is $25-$90, often in the higher end of it. You can get cheap lessons that are usually group lessons. Private lessons are also available, but naturally, they cost far more because the trainer haves only one source of income at that time.
It has a drastic effect on the cost depending on who is training you. If it is a reputable and highly experienced tennis master, you can expect to pay hundreds of dollars per hour. On the other hand, if the teacher is a medium skilled tennis club employee, you can expect more reasonable prices.
If you are interested in tennis lessons, you can use Lessons.com to get a free estimate of the cost and to find a nearby instructor near your location by entering a zip code. Give it a try!
4. Competition Fees
If you are a beginner in tennis, it might become a surprise that entering tournaments will also cost you. This can drastically vary depending on your skill level, attended players, location, and more. However, the average USTA (United States Tennis Association) tournament cost is $50. In the ITF International Tennis Federation events, the entry fee is $40.
You should note that these prices are for low-rank players, and if you were a reputable top-tier tennis player, you don’t need to pay any tournament fees, at least personally.
All in all, the answer to why tennis is expensive is found in these 4 categories. However, it doesn’t have to be so.
Is Tennis For The Rich?
Tennis has an expensive reputation because of private tennis clubs, high court fees, and expensive private lessons. This is because tennis is a single sport, so the cost is one person’s responsibility. However, tennis doesn’t need to be expensive if you buy affordable equipment and play on free courts.
How Much Do People Spend On Tennis?
According to a study made by Statista, a family in the United States spends $1,170 annually for one child’s tennis hobby, and most of the costs come from court fees and lessons.
If you calculated the average equipment price for tennis from my information o this article, you would use around $300 for the equipment that includes racket, strings, 30 balls, shoes, and clothing. In addition to that, you would need to pay court fees if you don’t want to use free courts. This can often amp the price up by thousands of dollars.
However, if you know that you will play tennis year-round, you should consider purchasing an annual or seasonal tennis pass with access to courts. Most likely, this way, it will be so much cheaper than if you were to purchase hourly rates every single time year-round.
How To Play Cheap Tennis?
When you decide to skip all the most expensive equipment from the kings of tennis brands, private lessons from a former tennis champion, luxurious courts, and private club fees, you might be surprised how cheap you can begin.
For cheap equipment, you should shop sales, buy used equipment, or buy rackets and shoes that aren’t from Wilson or other relatively expensive brands. You can get a great pair of shoes, a racket, and a can of balls for $100 or less, and that’s nearly it!
For cheap court fees, you can skip the fees altogether and find free courts. There are free courts in almost every city, and you can find one near you by typing free tennis court (your area), and you will find recommendations. You can also invest a little time and drive further from the busiest courts, and you can find relatively low prices.
For free lessons, you can use the might of YouTube. It’s not the same as live training, however, there you can find really good channels that teach everything from the basics to the most advanced techniques. Check out my 3 favorite YouTube channels below.
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.
All in all, tennis has an expensive reputation, and it certainly can be expensive as it is in most cases. However, it definitely isn’t exclusive for the rich only, and as you can see on the how to play cheap tennis part of the article, you can get off really cheap if you really want to.
I hope that this article was useful to you and you now know what to expect when starting tennis. In addition, I hope that you will get some savings if you want to use cheap equipment, free courts, and great YouTube videos as lessons.