By Nicholas Walz
President Bill Clinton and Billie Jean King took part in Tennis Night in America festivities
© Getty Images
Midland, Mich., earned Best Tennis Town honors
Here is a numerical look back at the tennis season in 2009:30,100,000
- The USTA and Tennis Industry Association (TIA) announced that in 2009, tennis participation in the United States topped 30 million players for the first time in more than two decades. The annual survey of 6,000 Americans conducted by the Taylor Research Group on behalf of the Tennis Industry Association (TIA) and the USTA showed that tennis participation grew in all age groups under the age of 50 and within all ethnicities. The figure represents a 12 percent growth in participation over 2008 and 25 percent since 2003. 2,531,236
- Hours of live streaming viewed by tennis fans on USOpen.org, or roughly 289 years worth of non-stop viewership (24 hours a day, 365 days a year) if laid out in a straight timeline. 900,000
- Amount in dollars given by the USTA for Recreational Tennis Grants to non-profit organizations who applied in 2009. Winning organizations included Parks and Recreation agencies, YMCA's, USTA NJTL Chapters and entire school districts. All funding recipients share a common commitment to growing the game of tennis, with priorities on providing the QuickStart Tennis play format in their 10-and-under programming along with team tennis opportunities. For more information, check out thebigserve.usta.com
- The amount of current USTA members, an all-time organization high. 721,059
- Attendance figure for the 2009 US Open, a brand-new record, eclipsing the 2008 mark (720,227) by 832 fans. 263,607
- Amount of views for 2009 US Open press conferences on the USTA’s “USOPEN” YouTube channel. This year marked the first US Open in which press conferences for every round of play were offered on the channel. (Total as of 12/5/2009) 18,000
- Estimated total of participants in the first-ever USOpen.org "Bracket Challenge," powered by Fanball.com. The contest allowed tennis fans to predict the winners of every match in either the men's or women's singles draw -- the grand prize for each winner will be an all-expenses paid trip to the 2010 US Open. 12,026
- Die-hard tennis fans who braved a late-season snowstorm to attend the inaugural BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup inside Madison Square Garden in New York City. The four-woman tournament, headlined by the Williams sisters, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic, was broadcasted live on HBO and was the headline attraction for another first-time happening, Tennis Night in America, on March 2, 2009. As part of the festivities, CTA's all around the nation joined together in hosting viewing parties for the tournament and registering kids for spring and summer leagues. 6,000
- Number of participants who took part in 225 Recreational QuickStart Coaches Workshops in 2009, many of whom were parents of kids ages 5-10, who were learning the game for the first time themselves. Workshops took place in 38 different states in all 17 sections. The QuickStart tennis format, which is an adapted form of play with smaller racquets and courts and softer tennis balls conducive to children just beginning to play, continues to grow in popularity and participation as part of the USTA’s youth-based initiative to make tennis a sport which spans a lifetime, from the earliest ages on up. For more information, check out quickstarttennis.com
or usta.com/rcw. 2,202
- Days between Roger Federer's last two US Open defeats, bookended by two Argentineans: a fourth-round loss to David Nalbandian (9/4/2003) and this year's men's final defeat by Juan Martin del Potro (9/14/2009). In the interim, Federer won 40 straight matches against 32 different opponents, claiming the men's singles title for five consecutive years -- an Open Era record. 1,750
- Fans who won MetroCards (a $4.50 value), courtesy of the USTA' s Green Initiative to ride the "7" subway line to Corona Park in Flushing Meadows, site of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and the 2009 US Open. In an effort to reduce the environmental impact of the US Open and help educate tennis fans to the benefits of being more eco- friendly, the USTA works with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a non-profit environmental group, to encourage fans to use public transportation whenever possible. 1,113
- Community Tennis Associations (CTA's) affiliated with the USTA in 2009, as we welcomed 67 new not-for-profit tennis facilities into our national family. Since 2005 (548), the amount of CTA's under the USTA umbrella has more than doubled. 737
- Number of volunteers who dedicated their time and effort to the numerous initiatives and events involved with running the 2009 US Open, including Arthur Ashe Kids' Day and SmashZone. 516
- The number of colleges/universities participating in the USTA Tennis on Campus program in 2009 -- a record high -- with over 30,000 individual students participating. 252
- Time, in minutes, needed for California-native Taylor Dent's five-set comeback win over Spain’s Ivan Navarro in the second round of the US Open -- a match that saw 376 total points won, a 147-mph serve from Dent, two heated tiebreakers and one exhausted, yet thankful, American grabbing the umpire's microphone and praising the fans, calling them his "backbone." 175
- Point total for American Sam Querrey en route to capturing the 2009 Olympus US Open Series men’s title. In a breakout summer campaign, Querrey would play in four of the six US Open Series tournaments leading up to the US Open, reaching three finals (Indianapolis, Los Angeles and New Haven) and claiming the LA Tennis Open crown during Week 2. Russia’s Elena Dementieva placed first in the women’s standings with 170 points.97
- World No. 3 Novak Djokovic played 97 ATP World Tour matches this year, the most of any player. While a Grand Slam eluded his grasp, the Serbian phenom had perhaps his best year to date, leading the tour with 78 matches won and appearing in a career-best 10 finals, winning five. 70
- First-serve percentage of American Andy Roddick in 61 matches in 2009, best on the ATP World Tour circuit. 60
- This year marked the 60th anniversary of Pancho Gonzalez's second consecutive US Open title in 1949 at the age of 21. Actor Benjamin Bratt emceed an on-court tribute to Gonzalez held on Sept. 5, with Gonzalez's family on-hand and a packed house inside Arthur Ashe Stadium to honor one of the game's greatest legends. 40
- The National Junior Tennis & Learning network of community initiatives celebrated the 40th Anniversary of its inception by modernizing its name and logo in a year where high-water marks of 550 chapters served over 220,000 youths. Modeled in the vision of co-founder Arthur Ashe back in 1969, NJTL gives all kids the opportunity to fully develop their tennis and academic skills so they can derive a lifetime of enjoyment from the sport and excellence in the classroom. 36
- “The Magician” Fabrice Santoro is the oldest player in the 2009 US Open men's singles draw at the age of 36. In his 18th and final Open, Santoro is the only player in the field to have begun his professional career in the 1980s.35
- Double faults during the 2009 US Open by top-seed Dinara Safina, the most in the tournament for women. Safina, who reached the women’s singles semifinals at the 2008 US Open, needed three sets to knock off wild card Olivia Rogowska and unseeded Kristina Barrois before succumbing to another unseeded player, Petra Kvitova, in a third-set tiebreaker this year.31 -
Consecutive matches for Rafael Nadal without a defeat on the clay of Roland Garros, a streak snapped by Swede Robin Soderling in the fourth round of the 2009 French Open. Prior to the shocking loss, the current No. 2-ranked player in the world was undefeated in French Open play, winning four consecutive titles between 2005-08. 29 -
The age of former world No. 1 Marat Safin, who retired in November at the 2009 BNP Paribas Masters in Paris after losing in the second round to Juan Martin del Potro. The 2000 US Open winner won 15 career ATP titles, including two Grand Slams, and helped lead Russia to two Davis Cup championships in 2002 and 2006. He leaves the game after 12 years as a professional and over $14 million (US) in career prize money. 21
- Number of 2009 ATP World Tour titles won by the United States, the most of any nation. Fifteen of those titles were attributed to the doubles play of Mike and Bob (who threw in a mixed doubles title at Roland Garros) Bryan. 20 -
Average number of aces per match for American John Isner during the 2009 US Open, a tournament best. The 6-foot-9 boomer out of the University of Georgia reached the round of 16 for the first time in his young career, highlighted by upset victories over Victor Hanescu and fellow countryman Andy Roddick (fresh off a Wimbledon final and ranked No. 5 in the world), the latter whom he had never defeated prior to the 2009 Open. 17
- Regional sections that represent the USTA, all of which continue to build and develop tennis across the country.
It was also the 17th annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day at the 2009 US Open, headlined by "American Idol" Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks and featuring appearances by actor and "Saturday Night Live" alum Will Ferrell, along with some of tennis’s biggest names, including Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. 15
- In a year of milestones, Roger Federer ties Pete Sampras (14) at the French Open and then surpasses him by winning Wimbledon to become the first man to win 15 Grand Slam singles titles, the new all-time mark. 11 -
2009 marked the 11th anniversary of the USTA assuming responsibility for wheelchair tennis in America from the National Foundation for Wheelchair Tennis. Since 1998, the USTA has become the first National Governing Body of both Olympic and Paralympic tennis, governing Paralympics, Para Pan Am Games and World Team Cup (Davis Cup equivalent in wheelchair tennis). 8 -
The 2009 Wimbledon Championships marked the eighth time the Williams sisters met in a Grand Slam final, with Serena out-dueling elder sister Venus, 7-6 (3), 6-2, for ultimate grass-court glory. Of their eight head-to-head battles, Serena has won six to Venus’s two, with 2009 serving as a bit of sweet vengeance for Serena after losing Wimbledon to Venus in 2008. When united, the dominant duo would also capture the Wimbledon doubles title—one of three Grand Slam doubles crowns (Australian Open, US Open) in 2009. 5 -
Times that the WTA world No. 1 ranking changed hands in 2009, beginning with Jelena Jankovic as the 2008 incumbent and ending with Serena Williams ending the year with the top ranking. Russia’s Dinara Safina held the longest reign atop the women’s game, a 25-week stretch beginning in April and ending in October.
On the men’s side, five is also significant, as Roger Federer reclaimed the top spot in the ATP rankings from rival Rafael Nadal in July. This is the fifth time Roger Federer has ended the calendar year with world No. 1 status (2004-07, 2009). 3
- Ranked Russians (No. 4 Elena Dementieva, No. 29 Maria Sharapova, No. 13 Nadia Petrova) bested by unseeded 17-year-old Melanie Oudin at the 2009 US Open en route to appearing in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. In all three matches, the Marietta, Ga., native whipped the crowds inside Arthur Ashe Stadium into a frenzy by dropping the first set only to come back and win all three times. Had her eventual vanquisher, Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, lost to No. 6 Svetlana Kuznetsova in the round of 16, Oudin would have attempted to defeat her fourth seeded opponent in the tournament from Russia. 2
- Sets lost en route to winning the 2009 US Open title by Kim Clijsters, who was competing in her first Grand Slam in two-and-a-half years (2007 Australian Open). Clijsters has appeared in the women's final in each of her last three US Open appearances (2003, 2005, 2009), winning the last two.
- 2009 was a year of firsts in several respects in the world of tennis:
It marks the first time Spain has won back-to-back Davis Cup Championships, blanking the Czech Republic in the Davis Cup Final, 5-0.
It was the first time since 2003 that the U.S. advanced to the Fed Cup Final.
It was the first Grand Slam Finals appearance and victory for then-20-year-old Juan Martin del Potro, who won the 2009 US Open.
For his opponent, Roger Federer, it was his first-ever loss in what is now six consecutive US Open Finals.
Kim Clijsters, with her US Open victory, became the first unseeded woman or wild-card player to win the tournament.
Opening night of the 2009 US Open marked the first time Andre Agassi ventured back to Flushing Meadows after a tearful retirement in 2006. He was honored during the opening ceremonies.
Midland, Mich., became the USTA’s first-ever “Best Tennis Town in America” as voted by the fans at besttennistown.com
, defeating fellow nominees Ojai, Calif., and Independence, Kan.
The USTA held its first-ever “Tennis Night In America” and “Youth Registration Night” on March 2, 2009, resulting in over 750 tennis facilities in all 50 states and 17 sections participating in signing up kids ages 6-18 for USTA Jr. Team Tennis leagues.