By Caitlin Thompson
Back in 2016 when David and I released our first issue of Racquet, nobody in the tennis world understood why we thought it needed some culture, and very few people outside of it thought that the sport could be a worthy canvas for style. Fast forward six years, and now there are TOO many DTC brands competing for our online attention, a preponderance of pro-level equipment that hasn’t yet made the case to the recreational player. Not to mention everything in between—from sunscreen to water bottles.
It’s with a solemn sense of duty and a some tried-it-all bona fides that I present this, 2022’s official gear guide, and for the first time ever, a companion Spectator’s Guide, ideal for those of you interested in tennis but maybe not yet ready to play. In them you’ll find style, shoe & racquet guides, as well as accessories to take your tennis-playing or watching to the next level. I’ve also added some exceptional destinations, as more and more folks are looking to take their localized tennis experiences on the road. Happy Summer!
Last year we went hard for Palmes Society, and this year is no exception—their second tennis capsule is suitable for unisex wear and the epitome of scandi minimalist style. On the more feminine end of the spectrum, Alo has entered the room in a big way—see their on-court looks on American pro Danielle Collins and their consistently well made basics in everyday looks. We love the cropped polo & basic skirts for well-constructed elegance.
For those of you more interested in a hype release mode, I can’t recommend the Reigning Champ x Prince collab enough. Fresh our off our collection with the erstwhile Canadian brand, they’ve partnered with the classic racquet manufacturer for an all-white capsule (with an original Graphite, of course). We’re also big, big fans of the NYLORA tennis collection, their tailored pieces work well both from performance to leisure. House faves TENEZ, purveyors of both of LA’s eminent rec tournament as well as athleisure have released a phenonmenal Acapuclo tee & sweat colleción that we couldn’t recommend more for late-Summer & early Fall vibes.
As always, you can get away with wearing non-tennis specific clothing, but you cannot with shoes. Your lateral movement and ankle stability is more important than your looks, but we endeavor to find fits that accommodate both. To that end, adidas’s new AvaCourts haven’t left my feet since they arrived, with special construction aimed to accommodate a woman’s foot shape. Is my foot shape distinctly feminine? I don’t care because these are incredibly comfortable and feel exciting as a new performance option. David, my co-founder, has been playing in a pair of Nike Zoom NXTs, and says they’re stable, cushioned and we both think they’re fashionable.
On the style front, if casual play and serious looks are more your goal, we’d recommend the canvas and leather hand-stitched Blu Scarpas or the vibrant new Forum Low collab between adidas and our favorite clothing store in Copenhagen, WoodWood. No reason to default to the same tennis shoe everyone is wearing when these elevated kicks are out there.
As ever, the advance of racquet technology means you really can’t go wrong with most sticks you’ll find online (just please, please don’t buy something at a big box store or because you got bullied by a pro shop staffer who’s never played the game). Dave likes the Solinco Whiteout, developed with Racquet’s official stringer Roman Prokes, both for its stability and feel as well as the all-white colourway. I’m using a Head Speed—a balanced racquet for big swings paired with serious touch, which is how I like to think of my game. Strung with gut in the mains, of course.
By popular demand, someday soon we’re going to blow out this section into a legitimate travel guide, but for now he’s a short collection of curated destinations and experiences guaranteed to take your games (both tennis, and leisure) to the next level. If you’re interested in North America, the Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre has landed in Costa Mujeres, merging Mexican all-inclusive resort vibes with high performance training worthy of the man himself.
Those of you more excited to tie in some gorgeous Swiss vistas with your tennis would be remiss not to sign up for the Rafa Nadal tennis camp at the Bürgenstock resort this August 22-29 at Lake Lucerne. To sweeten the deal, they’re giving an extra $100 in resort credit (redeemable for spa treatments, food & bev and more) to anyone who books using the code RACQUET.