NAs’ join countdown to World Tennis Day

London, Feb 18, 2013: The ITF’s National Associations will join some of the world’s leading tennis stars in celebrating the inaugural World Tennis Day that will be held on Monday 4 March as part of the ITF Centenary activities. World Tennis Day was launched by the ITF and StarGames at the 2012 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final in Prague to help promote tennis participation around the world.

World Tennis Day is centred around two ‘BNP Paribas Showdown’ special events, organised by the promoter StarGames, at New York’s Madison Square Garden and Hong Kong’s AsiaWorld-Arena. The events will feature current and former professionals together with demonstrations of the ITF’sTennis10s programme aimed at increasing participation among young players around the world. Rafael Nadal, Juan Martin del Potro, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka will be in action in New York, while John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Li Na and Caroline Wozniacki are taking part in Hong Kong.

Alongside these events, the ITF has encouraged its member 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. Over 2,200 clubs in the United States took part in this initiative in 2012.

Several other National Associations will be hosting World Tennis Day activities on or around 4 March focusing on theTennis10s programme. These included Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Egypt, Fiji, Hong Kong, Liberia, Mauritius, Mexico, Namibia, Norway, Paraguay, Portugal, Spain, Uruguay and Zimbabwe.

The ITF’s Tennis10s programme, which 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.

“World Tennis Day will put a spotlight on tennis participation in our Centenary year,” said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti. “The very successful Tennis Night in America, staged by the USTA in association with StarGames, is an example of how special events and participation activities can be combined successfully. We are pleased with the initial response from many of our member National Associations, and look forward to additional events and activities around the world over the next few years.”

Dave Miley, ITF Executive Director of Development, said, “World Tennis Day will allow the ITF to showcase ourTennis Play and Stay and Tennis10s programmes, which already have proven success in growing participation. This initiative will also give our member nations a great opportunity to draw extra attention to what they are doing to grow tennis in their countries.” —- ITF

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