Youth tennis getting big boost

WHITE PLAINS, NY - The United States Tennis Association (USTA) today announced that Tucson, Ariz., has been chosen to receive a $50,000 grant as part of the USTA's efforts to get more kids playing tennis.

The contribution will be distributed over a three-year period for use in building new and adapting current tennis courts to accommodate 10 and Under Tennis, as well as supporting new programs.

The USTA's youth initiative,10 and Under Tennis, provides the opportunity for children to achieve immediate success in the sport by playing tennis on smaller courts, using smaller and lighter racquets and slower-moving and lower-bouncing balls. Since 2011, the USTA has supported 46 communities and invested $2.3 million in grants to support its youth initiative and fund tennis programs.

"By providing a foundation for kids to play tennis, we can make a lasting impact in communities throughout the country," said Kurt Kamperman, USTA Chief Executive, Community Tennis.

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with respected local community and tennis leaders in Tucson to encourage healthy and active lifestyles for area kids by introducing them to tennis."

The USTA will be working with community partners, such as schools, public parks, youth organizations, tennis facilities, and pros to incorporate tennis into physical education classes, after-school programs and other youth programs to drive participation.

As children develop their skills and love for the game, they also will be encouraged to participate in Play Days, USTA Jr. Team Tennis and USTA tournaments. Community officials will work with the USTA to ensure that local organizers have the proper techniques and skills to implement this new method of teaching tennis to kids.

For the past several years, the USTA has invested significantly in its 10 and Under Tennis initiative, which is the organization's top recreational tennis priority. Across the country, more than 6,500 tennis facilities now offer 10 and Under Tennis programs.

In 2012, the USTA helped install or build more than 4,400 youth-sized tennis courts in 371 markets in 44 states throughout the nation. In all, the USTA has constructed nearly 10,000 kid-sized courts since 2010.