London, Fed 24, 2014: The ITF’s member National Associations will join some of the world’s leading tennis stars in celebrating the second World Tennis Day on Monday 3 March. World Tennis Day aims to promote tennis and increase participation among players around the globe, with over 60 nations already confirmed to take part.
This year’s World Tennis Day will be centered around three special events, organised by the promoter StarGames, in three different time zones in Hong Kong, London and New York. The events will feature current and former professionals together with junior and wheelchair demonstrations, including the ITF’s Tennis Play and Stay campaign.
Tomas Berdych, Lleyton Hewitt, Li Na and Samantha Stosur will be in action in the BNP Paribas Showdown at the Hong Kong Velodrome; Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Pat Cash and Ivan Lendl will contest the World Tennis Day Showdown at London’s Earls Court; and Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Bob and Mike Bryan, and John and Patrick McEnroe will take part at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Alongside these events, the ITF has encouraged its National Associations to support World Tennis Day with their own grassroots and club activities to attract new participants to the sport. These include the United States Tennis Association (USTA), which 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. To date, more than 6,500 youth tennis events have been held as part of that initiative.
Many nations will be promoting the Tennis Play and Stay campaign, the ITF’s global initiative launched in 2007 aimed at increasing tennis participation worldwide. The campaign centres around the slogan of ‘Serve, Rally and Score’ and seeks to promote tennis as an easy, fun and healthy sport through the use of slower and lower bouncing balls, shorter and lighter rackets, and smaller courts. Under the Tennis Play and Stay banner, the Tennis10s programme makes it easier for children to take up the game, while TennisXpress is an easy, active and fun coaching programme for adults.
“The inaugural World Tennis Day proved to be a very successful initiative, using high profile special events to bring attention to the developmental activities of our member nations on every continent,” said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti. “The enthusiasm and commitment of our National Associations to World Tennis Day in its first year was inspiring and we expect an even greater take-up in 2014 and beyond. March 3rd will be an important day in the international tennis calendar with huge focus on our sport on World Tennis Day.” —- ITF