Do Tennis Players Wear Cups?

Jockstraps or cups are a type of underwear used to protect the penis and testicles during sports.

Cups are generally worn as an alternative to underwear.

They are most commonly used in aggressive contact sports. You could argue that tennis is an aggressive sport, but it certainly isn’t a contact sport.

Does that thus mean that jockstraps are useless for tennis and players won’t wear them?

Tennis players do not usually wear cups. The odds of your privates being hit by a ball are slim. In addition to this, cups can inhibit movement. In a sport like tennis, which requires substantial agility, it is essential not to restrict movement.

Having said that, there are some compilation videos of tennis injuries. Some of these videos do include unlucky players being struck in the balls by big smashes.

This is normally in doubles, though.

In this article I will be covering:

  • Whether cups are needed in tennis
  • If it is advisable to wear a cup and whether it will protect you from being hit
  • If jockstraps will reduce mobility while playing

If you’re debating whether you should wear a cup while playing tennis, read on!

Does Tennis Require Wearing Cups?


Neither the ITF rules of tennis nor the ITF code of conduct mentions the words “jockstrap” or “cups.”

Based on this, it is safe to conclude that there are no restrictions on the use of cups in tennis.

As it is not mentioned, you can also conclude that there is no requirement to use cups.

Some men who are particularly large down below choose to wear a jockstrap. There are today more people who opt for compression shorts instead of cups.

Compression shorts do not restrict movement quite as much as a jockstrap.

Compression shorts strike a good balance. They do this by holding your privates in place but without sacrificing as much mobility.

I’ve played tennis for over a decade and never used a jockstrap.

I’ve also never known anyone who personally owns up to using one. Mind you, it’s not the sort of thing you discuss very often.

I feel they are just unnecessary. As the risk of being hit is so slim, it is not worth sacrificing your agility.

One tennis player who chooses to wear a jockstrap is the Spanish former world number 12, Feliciano Lopez.

Thirty years ago, you were much more likely to see pros using cups. One reason for this could be the changing dynamics of the game.

Thirty years ago, it was much more common to see players approaching the net. The closer you are to the net, the more at risk you are of being hit.

This is because you have less time to react, and the opponent has a greater chance of hitting you.

The risk of being hit in doubles is also higher as there will almost always be two players at the net.

Is It Recommended To Wear A Cup?

man wearing a jockstrap

The greatest advantage of wearing a cup is pretty obvious. You will have more protection if you happen to be hit by a tennis ball.

Imagine this.

You are playing doubles. You are on the net. Your opponent on the net has just been given a massive opportunity to smash.

The ball he hits is coming straight at you. To make it worse, it is coming directly to your privates.

If you are unlucky enough to be struck in the balls, the cup will offer some added protection.

Nonetheless, if a smash hits hard enough and at the right angle, you will probably still feel something.

Even in doubles, the risk of being hit there is so low, I do not believe it is worth wearing a cup.

The materials used in a tennis ball mean that the damage will not be long-term if you are hit there.

Worst case scenario, you will feel intense pain and need to go home and rest for a few days. Bruising is also common.

I’ve never come across anyone seriously injured by a blow to the genitals from a tennis ball.

On that note, I certainly wouldn’t recommend testing to see if you can injure yourself with a tennis ball.

If you are really concerned about it and think it may give you confidence at the net, feel free to give it a try.

Some players are very happy using cups and feel the support and protection they offer is worth it.

Another benefit is that they prevent rubbing. When I have gone through playing tennis every day, I have noticed I get rashes on my thighs.

By wearing a jockstrap, it will stop your legs from rubbing against each other.

Jockstraps offer protection, but they come with a trade-off. That trade-off is reduced mobility.

Also read: Do Male Tennis Players Share Their Legs?

Will Jockstrap Reduce Your Mobility On The Court?

Rafael nadal returning a ball

Jockstraps will reduce your mobility while playing. Jockstraps will reduce your range of movement in the legs.

This will make changing direction tougher. It can also have an effect on your split step.

For those of you who don’t know, a split step is a small step a player makes before their opponent hits the ball.

Player’s do this to prepare themselves to move to the ball they are about to receive.

You will not notice a huge reduction in mobility. Still, you will feel a difference if you’ve never worn one while playing before.

For me, I like the feeling of freedom as I play. For this reason, any restriction in movement is frustrating.

Jockstraps also weigh more than standard underwear used in sports. This, therefore, means you will be carrying around more weight than necessary.

In tennis matches, players normally run at least 1.5 miles.

The big issue with tennis is there are a lot of side-to-side movements. With these side-to-side movements comes the need to push off the outside foot.

After a player has pushed off the outer foot, the legs come pretty close together before grounding again.

Over the past thirty years, tennis has switched from a back-and-forth sport to a more side-to-side one.

Jockstraps are not as restricting when it comes to back-and-forth motions. This is perhaps another reason why they have been reducing in popularity.

Feliciano Lopez has won 7 ATP titles as well as reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon three times.

It is clearly possible to play at the highest levels of sports while using cups.

Also read: Can Female Tennis Players Wear Shorts?

Final Words

When it comes to tennis attire, the most critical thing is comfort.

If you are comfortable with what you are wearing, you will focus more of your attention on the game.

For most, cups are not suitable. But, if you feel comfortable using one, go for it.

Have you used cups while playing tennis? What’s your experience?

Perhaps you’ve been at the receiving end of a nasty smash and wished you’d had some extra protection.