The United States Tennis Association (USTA) announced that it will celebrate the refurbishment and creation of 3,000 tennis courts in the United States, the most ever by the USTA in a single calendar year. This achievement will be celebrated at Grove Park in Atlanta, Georgia on November 30. Grove Park is emblematic of the 502 facilities that have been upgraded by the USTA in 283 markets throughout the country.
Through its facilities assistance group, the USTA has succeeded in the construction and renovation of 3,000 tennis courts in 45 states in 2011. The courts were either constructed or refurbished by painting permanent 36' and 60' tennis lines on existing 78' tennis courts, or constructing stand-alone 36' and 60' courts. The courts were built in public parks, school yards, tennis facilities and at local community based youth organizations, like the Boys and Girls Club.
The USTA’s efforts are in accordance with the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) new rule that now requires all youth tennis courts be specially lined or built to enable participation of the 10 and Under Tennis play format. The play format consists of modified tennis equipment, which includes smaller courts, lower nets, smaller racquets, lower compression balls, and a scoring system that’s easier for kids to understand. With equipment and courts tailored to suit their needs and abilities, kids have more confidence and fun as soon as they pick up a racquet. The new rule takes effect on January 1, 2012.
"The USTA committed to impacting 3,000 courts in 2011, and we succeeded," said Jon Vegosen, USTA Chairman of the Board and President. "By investing in local infrastructure, we can continue to grow the game at the grassroots level, energize players of all ages and help improve communities across the country."
"We are delighted to welcome the USTA to Atlanta as they celebrate this significant milestone," said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. "The investment from these new tennis courts – seven of which are right here in Atlanta - will have real tangible benefits for our residents and young people for many years to come. I applaud the USTA for their dedication and commitment to encouraging young people to lead an active and healthy lifestyle."
The USTA also joined forces with First Lady Michelle Obama’s "Let’s Move!" initiative in 2011 to encourage young people across the country to get active, play tennis and lead healthy lifestyles. In addition, a component of the collaboration with "Let’s Move!" was the commitment to encourage 200,000 children to participate in the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA). The USTA exceeded its commitment and had more than 226,000 kids participate in and complete the PALA challenge. To date, the USTA has had more kids complete the challenge than any other youth sports organization in the United States.