The ITF launched World Tennis Day on Monday 4 March in a bid to promote tennis and increase participation among young players around the globe.
World Tennis Day was centred around two high-profile events - the well-established BNP Paribas Showdown in New York’s Madison Square Garden and a new event of the same name that was played at the AsiaWorld-Arena in Hong Kong.
Both of these special events, organised by the promoter StarGames, featured current and former professionals together with demonstrations of the ITF’s Tennis10s programme aimed at increasing participation among young players around the world.
Alongside these events, the ITF encouraged its 210 National Associations to support World Tennis Day with their own grassroots and club activities to attract new participants to the sport.
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) has already established the successful Tennis Night in America in conjunction with the BNP Paribas Showdown in which clubs are asked to open their doors as part of a month-long drive to get children playing the sport. Over 2,200 clubs in the United States took part in this initiative in 2012.
The ITF’s Tennis10s programme promotes the use of slower and lower bouncing balls, shorter and lighter rackets, and smaller courts to make it easier for children to take up the game.
Tennis10s is a supporting programme of the Tennis Play and Stay campaign, the ITF’s global initiative launched in 2007 aimed at increasing tennis participation worldwide. Tennis Play and Stay centres around the slogan of ‘Serve, Rally and Score’ and seeks to promote tennis as an easy, fun and healthy sport.
National Associations who supported World Tennis Day activities in 2013 included:
- Czech Republic
- Dominican Republic
- Great Britain
- Hong Kong, China
- New Zealand
- Puerto Rico
- South Africa