U.S. tennis participation grew for third straight year in 2022
U.S. tennis participation grew by 1 million players in 2022 with more than 23.6 million playing the sport–the third consecutive year that the sport has seen an increase.
This number, when added to the previous two years, represents an increase of 5.9 million, or 33 percent, since the start of 2020. This information was compiled by the Tennis Industry Association, and will be presented in greater detail in the 2023 Tennis National Participation Report available later this month.
USTA Chairman of the Board and President Brian Hainline says that this latest increase, and the bigger picture of the last three years, holds two-fold importance for the sport and for Americans as a whole.
“The increase in tennis participation for the third year in a row is not only important for the health of our sport, but also for the health and well-being of those who have made the game a part of their lives,” Hainline said.
“Tennis has a multitude of benefits, ranging from the mental to the physical, and we are excited to help lead the continued growth of a sport that helps players of all ages and ability levels stay active and healthy.”
The growth and health of the sport was not limited to just participation, as a variety of key efforts and initiatives were focused on increasing access to the game and making the overall tennis experience better for all players.
Tennis players on average lived an additional 9.7 years than sedentary individuals. This figure ranked highest among all sports included within the study, beating out soccer by 5 years (4.7), cycling by 6 years (3.7), swimming by 6.3 years (3.4) and jogging by 6.5 years (3.2). Participation in racquet sports, including tennis, reduces risk of all-cause mortality by 47 percent and cardiovascular-related death by 56 percent.
The work done by the USTA in 2022 helped bolster both new and returning players of all ages and skill levels. This included continuing support of facilities and public parks, tennis in schools, junior play, and programming such as USTA League and USTA Foundation National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) chapters.
Last year, the USTA worked with more than 100 facilities across the country to provide technical assistance to build or refurbish courts at public parks and tennis facilities. More than $750,000 was awarded to more than 45 total projects, with $285,000 going to new construction projects. These efforts represent more than 585 courts completed, and an impact of more than $50 million in tennis infrastructure. The first-ever Tennis and Pickleball Statement of Guidance, developed with park professionals and court contractors, detailed ways that public parks could most efficiently, economically and effectively incorporate the growth of both tennis and pickleball within their communities.
It also worked with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to introduce the ITF World Tennis Number in the U.S. Developed by the ITF and free to all players in the U.S., the World Tennis Number is one of the most advanced and accurate rating systems in the world, and all players in the U.S. who play in a USTA event are automatically assigned a World Tennis Number, at no cost. Based on a 40-point scale, with 40 representing the skillset of a beginning player and 1 being comparable to an elite professional, the ITF World Tennis Number is a global rating system, incorporating player results and data from more than 150 countries.
Currently, more than 1.4 million players based in the U.S. have active World Tennis Numbers.
USTA League, the country’s largest adult tennis league for players of all skill levels, also grew by 11 percent in 2022, with 284,000 unique participants competing throughout the year.
In support of next generation of players, tennis was offered in more than 20,000 schools across the country, as part of their overall physical education programs.
Since the start of 2017, the USTA has donated equipment to 8,300-plus schools, including donations to nearly 1,600 schools in 2022, giving 5.9 million children access to the sport.
The USTA Foundation, the charitable arm of the USTA, contributed more than $7 million in support, services and funding to NJTL chapters, which support under-resourced youth through free or low-cost tennis and education programs. It also awarded more than $435,000 in scholarships for 46 student leaders in 2022.
In total, its efforts helped positively impact more than 125,000 youth from 300-plus NJTL chapters across the country.