Archival Tennis

Once Spring randonneuring season is over I’ll be switching over to tennis as my preferred archival sport. Tennis is great because it only requires two to play and even if you have no formal training there’s a good chance you’ll get the ball over the net (who cares about line calls). Fortunately for me, most of my friends have at least rudimentary, P.E. class level ability (although one is a transfer student from the more hoi toi toi sport of squash). We chatter and bat the ball back and forth in the outdoors.

It’s easy to shop from the past for tennis equipment and apparel. I have a robust, thrift store collection of wooden rackets including favorite signature models by Chris Evert and Jack Kramer. My own embarrassing racket of choice during my teen tennis “career” was an over sized Prince woodie.

Mandatory equipment

The best part of tennis is the footwear. There are many vintage styles still in production including tennis white models by Jack Purcell, Tretorn and PF Flyers. My own preference is for these classic “elastique” tennis flats and lace ups from Bensimon. Since I’m not seriously running after balls, I’m fine wearing slip-ons on the court.

Bensimon Elastique Tennis Flats

Friend Lynn is on the hunt for more modern, functional tennis apparel. She found this company, DTL fitness, selling high performance, US made tennis clothing for women.

Tennis playing gents need only model their spring wardrobes after McLoughlin and Rice.

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