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Why don’t top tennis players wear sunglasses?
For many sports like fishing, shooting, cycling and skiing, sports style sunglasses have long been an essential part of enthusiasts’ kit. With other sports/activities like cricket, golf, hiking, athletics and running, more and more professional and amateur participants now wear them.
But why don’t professional tennis players wear sunglasses? The main reason is that most outdoor tennis stadiums are relatively small and ‘enclosed’ with restricted air movement meaning the atmosphere can become hot and humid. In such conditions close fitting sports sunglasses can mist up and may not stay in place when players heavily perspire. But for recreational/club tennis players on ‘open’ outdoor courts, sunglasses will be a real advantage: certain tints add contrast which sharpens the field of vison and low sun can be a major nuisance interfering with vision.
Which sunglasses are good for tennis?
Sunglasses with brown or amber lenses are good for tennis because not only will they cope with strong sunlight but they improve contrast – everything will appear a little sharper helping with definition. Blue and turquoise lenses are also useful as they can “highlight” a yellow ball. Thin frames and half frames are recommended so the bottom of the frame doesn’t interfere with vision. And on hard courts sunlight reflecting off the surface can cause glare – polarised sunglasses will eliminate that glare.
Protect your eyes from UV rays
The single most important reason why tennis players should wear sunglasses on outdoor courts is that UV rays from sunlight can damage the retina and the lens of the eye. Good quality sunglasses will eliminate this solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) in particular the more-damaging UVB radiation. Wearing sunglasses helps maintain eye health by screening out UVR. Without this protection, long term exposure to UV rays can lead to cancer of the eyelids, cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. Wearing sunglasses also means you don’t squint in direct sunlight and squinting can increase the wrinkles around your eyes and it’s no surprise that when you look at many of the older, retired top tennis players (that never wore sunglasses) they often have heavily lined eyes.