I string my racket about four times a year, $35 a pop. That’s $140 a year for a Head Liquidmetal Radical that cost $69. I like to tell people that, despite its country club pedigree and rich kid reputation, tennis is one of the cheapest sports you can play, much less expensive than sports with blue collar reps such as ice hockey. You can buy a decent prestrung racket for maybe $50 and a can of balls for $2. Find a court at your local park or high school, and play until you collapse. For free.
For the serious recreational player, of course, the costs can be higher. I try to keep my costs on the low side, but I probably drop $1,200 to $1,300 a year on the game. An itemized list of my expenses:
|A year of expenses on the rec tour
|Four string jobs||$140|
|Two pairs of shoes||$180|
|Four pairs of Thorlo socks||$48|
|Indoor court time (5:30 a.m. tennis. Yikes!)||$400|
|Y membership (spring and summer)||$360|
|One pair of shorts||$35|
Toss in lessons, string your rackets more frequently, and the costs will climb higher. When I evaluate my own spending, however, the game still seems like a great value, supporting an extraordinary level of obsession for every dollar spent.