Why Don’t Tennis Pros Wear Gloves? [2024]

Next time you go to your tennis club or go and watch a game of tennis at an event go and see how many players are wearing gloves.  I would guess you’ll see no one wearing them (unless it is the winter!)

So why is this? Have tennis players ever worn gloves?  

In this article we will look at some of the pros and cons of wearing gloves and why you don’t see them worn by professional players. 

Why Tennis Players Don’t Wear Gloves: Reasons

Why Don't Tennis Pros Wear Gloves

There are several reasons why tennis players choose not to wear gloves:

Preference: Some players simply prefer the feel of the racket without gloves. They may find gloves uncomfortable or restrictive, or they may prefer to have direct contact with the racket to better control their shots.

Grip: While gloves can provide a better grip for some players, others may find that gloves hinder their grip. Gloves can sometimes feel slippery or cause the racket to twist in the hand, which can lead to less control over the shot. You can also check Eastern Forehand Grip

Sensitivity: Tennis requires a great deal of sensitivity and touch, especially for delicate shots such as volleys and drop shots. Some players may feel that gloves dull their sense of touch or interfere with their ability to feel the ball and the racket.

Hand size and shape: Gloves may not fit all hand sizes and shapes, and finding the right size and fit can be challenging. Gloves that are too loose can slip off or cause the racket to twist, while gloves that are too tight can be uncomfortable and restrictive.

Temperature: Depending on the climate and conditions, gloves can be too warm or too cold. In hot weather, gloves can cause the hands to sweat excessively, while in cold weather, gloves may not provide enough warmth. 

Tennis gloves aren’t allowed: Some leagues prohibit the use of tennis gloves. There is sometimes a perception that they give players an unfair advantage. Occasionally, traditionalists who prefer to grip their rackets by hand disapprove of them as well. Playing the sport for long periods doesn’t bother them if they get calluses or discomfort.

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Pros And Cons Of Wearing Gloves For Playing Tennis

can you wear gloves in tennis

Pros of Wearing Gloves

A useful accessory for injuries: Players who have recently injured their hands or arms often wear tennis gloves. The affected area can be protected with gloves, preventing further damage from occurring. They can also assist players in avoiding bruises and calluses that can negatively affect their performance.  

Improved Grip: One of the main advantages of wearing gloves in tennis is that they can improve your grip on the racket. This is particularly beneficial if you tend to sweat a lot or if the weather is hot and humid.

Protection from Blisters: Wearing gloves can also protect your hands from blisters, which can be a common problem for tennis players. This can allow you to play for longer periods without having to worry about painful blisters developing.

Added Comfort: Gloves provide added warmth and comfort regardless of the weather. 

In both cold and warm weather, tennis gloves can also be helpful when playing outside or indoors. Your hands will be protected from the elements by the added insulation, which will allow you to focus on your game. When your hands are constantly being warmed or cooled, it takes away from your gameplay. It is also possible to reduce sweating by wearing gloves when playing in a hot, humid environment.  

Cons of Wearing Gloves

Reduced Feel: One of the main drawbacks of wearing gloves is that they can reduce the feel you have on the racket. This can affect your ability to hit the ball with accuracy and precision, and can even make it more difficult to control the racket.

Reduced Range of Motion: Wearing gloves can also reduce your range of motion, particularly if the gloves are too tight. This can make it more difficult to move around the court and can affect your overall performance.

Potential Rule Violation: While wearing gloves is not explicitly prohibited by the rules of tennis, some tournament organizers may prohibit them. This is because gloves can be seen as an unfair advantage, particularly if they give players a better grip on the racket.

Tennis gloves can affect your grip: Wearing tennis gloves can be uncomfortable for players who are used to specific grips for volleys and serves. Taking a backhand to a forehand and vice versa can be difficult when you have gloves on. The first few matches may be a bit difficult for you to adjust to.  

Gloves can cause sweating: Tennis gloves are sometimes worn to absorb sweat, but they can also cause sweating. Your hands may sweat more if you wear certain types of gloves. When you play, the moisture gets stuck in your gloves because it has nowhere to go.

When playing a long match, your hands will be slippery, and it may be difficult to hold on to your racket. In this regard, wristbands are often worn instead by tennis players. It prevents sweat from affecting your grip by catching it as it runs down your palm.

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What To Look For In Tennis Gloves

Tennis gloves are an essential part of a tennis player’s equipment, especially for those who have sweaty palms or need extra grip on the racket. When looking for tennis gloves, here are some important things to consider:

  1. Material: Tennis gloves can be made of different materials such as leather, synthetic leather, or mesh. Leather gloves provide a better grip and durability, while synthetic leather gloves are more lightweight and breathable. Mesh gloves are also breathable and are good for keeping your hands cool and dry.
  2. Size: Tennis gloves should fit your hands snugly but not be too tight. A tight glove can restrict movement, while a loose glove can cause your racket to slip. Make sure to measure your hand and refer to the sizing chart of the glove you want to buy.
  3. Grip: Look for tennis gloves that have a textured palm or fingers for a better grip on the racket. A good grip can help you hit the ball with more power and control.
  4. Padding: Some tennis gloves have padding on the palm or the knuckles for added protection and comfort. If you tend to get blisters or calluses, a padded glove can help prevent them.
  5. Breathability: Tennis gloves should allow your hands to breathe and stay cool. Look for gloves with mesh or perforated material that will allow air to circulate and keep your hands dry.
  6. Style: Tennis gloves come in different colors and styles, so choose one that matches your preference and style. Some players like gloves with bright colors or bold designs, while others prefer a more classic look.

By considering these factors, you can find the right tennis gloves that will improve your game and keep your hands comfortable and protected. 

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Tennis Glove Alternatives

While tennis gloves can be helpful for some players, others may prefer not to wear them. Fortunately, several alternatives can provide similar benefits:

  1. Overgrips: Overgrips are thin, adhesive wraps that can be applied over the existing grip of your racket. They provide a tacky surface that can improve your grip and absorb sweat. Overgrips are easy to apply and replace, and they come in a variety of colors and textures.
  2. Dampeners: Tennis dampeners are small devices that are inserted between the strings of your racket. They can reduce vibrations and provide a more comfortable feel when hitting the ball. Some dampeners are also designed to absorb sweat and prevent it from reaching your hands.
  3. Grip-enhancing products: There are various products on the market designed to improve the grip of your racket. For example, grip spray can be applied to your hands or the racket handle to increase friction and prevent slipping. Grip wax can also be used to provide a tacky surface on the handle.
  4. Wristbands: Wristbands are a popular accessory for tennis players, as they can absorb sweat and prevent it from dripping down to your hands. They also provide some extra support and protection for your wrists.
  5. Chalk or rosin: Similar to grip spray or wax, chalk or rosin can be used to provide a better grip on the racket. These substances are often used by weightlifters and gymnasts to improve their grip, and they can be useful for tennis players as well.

Ultimately, the choice of whether to use a tennis glove or an alternative comes down to personal preference. Some players find that gloves provide the best grip and comfort, while others prefer the feel of the racket without a glove. Experiment with different options to find what works best for you.

Do You Need Gloves To Play Tennis?

No, you do not need gloves to play tennis. Whether or not to wear gloves while playing tennis is a personal choice, and it depends on your specific needs and preferences as a player. While gloves can provide benefits such as better grip, comfort, and protection, there are also alternatives such as overgrips, dampeners, grip-enhancing products, wristbands, and chalk or rosin that can provide similar benefits.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to wear gloves comes down to what makes you feel most comfortable and confident on the court. Some players prefer the feel of the racket without gloves, while others find gloves helpful for enhancing their grip or preventing blisters or calluses. Experiment with different options to find what works best for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you wear gloves in tennis

Wearing gloves while playing tennis can cut down on calluses and water blisters. They can also help with gripping the racquet. If you are sweating a lot the racquet can become hard to grip. If it is a leather or synthetic grip and is worn, it can be near impossible once the sweat starts flowing.

Are there any tennis players who do wear gloves?

While it is not common, there have been a few tennis players who have worn gloves on the court. Some examples include:

  • Michael Chang, who wore gloves to protect a blister on his hand during the French Open in 1989.
  • Goran Ivanišević, who wore gloves to protect a hand injury during his Wimbledon win in 2001.
  • John Isner, who has worn gloves to protect his hand from blisters during his matches.

Are there any situations where gloves would be beneficial for tennis players?

In some cases, gloves may be beneficial for tennis players:

  • If a player has a hand injury or blister, gloves can provide protection and help them play without further injury.
  • In extremely cold weather, gloves can help keep a player’s hands warm.
  • Some players may wear gloves as an extra layer of protection during practice or training to prevent injuries or blisters.

Are there any alternative solutions for players to protect their hands during the game?

There are alternative solutions for players to protect their hands during the game:

  • Taping fingers or using finger sleeves can provide extra support and protection for the fingers.
  • Using grip-enhancing products, such as overgrips, can help prevent slippage and improve grip.
  • Tennis players can also use hand cream or lotion to moisturize their hands and prevent blisters.

What are the rules about tennis players wearing gloves during a match?

According to the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the governing body for tennis, there are no specific rules about tennis players wearing gloves during a match. However, the players are not allowed to use any equipment that is not approved by the ITF, so they would need to make sure that the gloves they use are approved before wearing them on the court.

Final Thoughts

There are several reasons why tennis players do not wear gloves. First and foremost, gloves can negatively impact the grip on the racket, which is crucial for proper technique and control.

Additionally, gloves can add extra weight to the racket and reduce the player’s ability to feel the ball. Tennis players also prefer to have bare-hand contact with the racket, as it allows for better sensation and improved touch.

Finally, gloves are not commonly worn in the sport of tennis and there is no requirement for players to wear them, thus it is not a tradition in the sport. Ultimately, it is up to the individual player to decide if they want to wear gloves or not based on their personal preference, but most players tend to prefer not to wear them while playing.

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David Harris

David is the founder and chief writer at Tennis Pursuits. A tennis fanatic, David has extensive experience of the game and has reviewed 100s of products to date. He is passionate about helping others on their tennis journey.

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