Surge in Tennis participation in the U.S. led by growth in diversity

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Jessica Pegula win a tennis doubles title
Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff hold up their trophies in Doha (Wikimedia Commons)

The USTA announced last week further demographic information detailing the continued surge in tennis participation in the U.S.

The breakdown reveals a significant increase in the Hispanic/Latino, Black/African-American, and Asian/Pacific Islander populations over the last three years. The information was provided by the Physical Activity Council Study on Sports and Physical Activity (PAC) administered by Sports Marketing Surveys USA and the Tennis Industry Association Participation and Engagement Study (PES).

As was announced earlier this year, tennis participation increased by one million players in 2022, marking the third consecutive year of growth by one million or more new participants in the sport in the U.S. The 23.6 million people playing the sport represents an increase of 5.9 million, or 33 percent, since the start of 2020.

Over that same three-year span, the USTA provided $9.4 million in funding for facility assistance and grants in an effort to ensure that the sport would be able to properly capitalize on this significant increase in participation, and facilitate a successful delivery system moving forward. Looking ahead, the USTA Foundation, the charitable arm of the USTA, has also pledged $6 million in grants over the next three years targeting participation growth and infrastructure/facilities projects at National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) chapters, which support under-resourced youth through free or low-cost tennis and education programs.

The number of people playing the sport (23.6 million) is more than the combined number of people playing pickleball (8.9 million), badminton (6.5 million), racquetball (3.5 million), and squash (1.2 million).

Participation has seen dramatic growth among the Hispanic/Latino population, with 3.8 million players in 2022, representing a 90% increase over the last three years. Black/African-American participation has increased by 46 percent over the last three years, with 2.3 million players in 2022. Asian/Pacific Islander participation has increased by 37 percent over the last three years, with 2.4 million players in 2022.

In total, people of color now represent 38% of the U.S. tennis player population, up from 32.5% in 2019.

“One of the goals of the USTA is to make tennis ‘look like America’ and to do that we need to help make tennis available to people from all walks of life, in all communities,” said Brian Hainline, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA. “Tennis is the ideal sport for individuals and families of all ages and abilities, with extensive health and wellness benefits, and we are pleased to see that a more broadly diverse group of people are becoming active and healthy through this wonderful sport.”

The USTA continued its work in supporting the infrastructure of the sport in the U.S. through various facilities grants and support work. In 2022, the USTA worked with more than 100 facilities across the country to provide technical assistance to build or refurbish courts at public parks and other 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.

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Tommy Paul and Ben Shelton talk after their tennis match
Tommy Paul, right, of the U.S. is congratulated by compatriot Ben Shelton following their quarterfinal match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023.(AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)