If there’s one thing that scares any man in sports, it is getting hit with a ball in the most sensitive area of the body. Wearing a cup is one way to prevent that, as it completely covers the testes and penis of a man.
It’s very common to hear about baseball, football, hockey, lacrosse, cricket, and other contact sports with a decently hard ball requiring them at the youth level, and plenty of adults voluntarily wear them as well.
Do tennis players wear cups? There might be a few people here and there who wear a cup, but pretty much no tennis player wears one, despite the risk. It makes more sense to wear one if a player specifically focuses on doubles, where close, hard hits that could hit that area are more prevalent.
Why Tennis Players Resist Wearing Cups
Even though a lot of people understand the protection a cup can provide, it’s looked at by many as a relatively soft move in tennis. There are certain sports where it does actually make sense, but a sport like tennis does not look at a cup as the norm. Why else do tennis players pass on wearing a cup regularly?
Restricted Movement: Tennis players are running all over the courts during a match, and that means movement needs to be top-notch. Having a cup in the way is going to slow down any player, no matter how used to it they become. The majority of tennis players do what they can to cut weight and have a free way of moving around. Hitting different types of shots also means twisting and turning, and even a well-fitted cup will need constantly adjusted throughout the match.
Resistance To Change: Unless a tennis player has grown up with a cup on, it is very unlikely that they are going to make the switch. Tennis players are very reluctant to change, even with their regular racquet. They certainly are not going to decide to change up what they wear under their clothes without a lot of thought and consideration.
Overheating: Even though cups are very breathable, they still add additional heat to the body. Tennis is played under extreme conditions, and unlike baseball, there is a lot more moving around throughout the entire match. If the body is just a little bit warmer, there is a chance of cramping up or feeling lightheaded. Most players don’t want to run that risk, only to protect themselves from a random ball hitting them in just the right spot.
They’ve Never Experienced A Hard Hit
Most athletes in any sports are oblivious to how much a direct hit to the genitals hurts until they get one. It does happen in tennis from time to time, but anyone who plays singles for the majority of their life might go years without ever getting a direct hit. If the chances of that happening are so rare, why would a cup make sense?
Any tennis player who is wearing a cup most likely has history down there. It’s not something most people like to talk about, even if they might never get hit there again. In a lot of ways, a cup is a lot like protective glasses, braces, and more. No one wears that stuff in tennis until they have some issues.
Why Wearing A Cup In Tennis Makes Sense
It doesn’t happen too much, but just about every person has either watched or played in a tennis tournament where a player has been hit in the wrong area of their body. Even though tennis balls are pretty soft, it doesn’t take that much power to feel the pain.
For singles players, rarely do they come to the net enough to warrant wearing a cup and getting much benefit out of it. For a more stationary player in doubles though, it makes more sense. Doubles players are left vulnerable from time to time during a match, especially at high levels. All it takes is one hard put away at the net to bounce up in a wrong way to make a person really feel it.
Unlike other sports, a cup is hard enough that a player would feel virtually nothing if they were hit in the area. The cup would be a shield, and it would not be compromised in any way because the ball is not hard enough to crack or completely break it.
Can a Tennis Ball Do Actual Damage?
Since a tennis ball is softer and lighter than a lot of other balls, most of the time, a direct shot to the genitals is going to not be that big of a deal. Yes, it’s going to hurt, and the pain might linger for quite a while. However, even a hard-hit ball is unlikely to do much harm in the long term. There might be some bruising, but players are not at risk of having permanent damage.
Most tennis players also understand when there is a good opportunity for them to be hit. Some players will turn their bodies before the ball is even hit, while others will put the racquet in front of vulnerable areas like the face or the genitals. This also reduces the risk of a direct hit, even if the shot is coming fast.
Who Should Wear a Cup?
Any player who wants an added layer of protection should consider wearing a cup. It feels restrictive at first, but a properly fitted cup won’t get in the way too much of a player. A person will still have a full range of motion, and although the skin might initially chafe, most get used to it after just one or two wears.
Wear What Feels Comfortable
If a player at any skill level is considering wearing a protective cup during tennis, they should find one that feels comfortable. That means getting the proper size, the proper jockstrap, and the best undergarments to complement the setup.
It’s going to feel weird at first, but anyone who is serious about protecting themselves should stick with it. If it’s just too much to handle, players should remember that getting hit in that area is pretty rare.