The International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) 2021 Global Tennis Report found healthy growth in tennis participation despite the pandemic. Key findings indicate that there are more than 87 million players within the 41 nations that contributed to the report, an increase of 4.5 percent, compared with it e 2019 report which was based on data collected from 195 nations.

Growth was also found in the total number of tennis courts, clubs and coaches.

The 2021 report follows its first-time report in 2019 report, which offered a worldwide overview of tennis participation. The data provided insight that informs the ITF’s global development strategy which sees over $10 million invested yearly to ensure the sustainability and long-term health of tennis.

The data in this year’s report pointed to tennis’ strong foundation as the ITF and its member nations continue to implement a global development strategy and digital innovation strategy which includes the rollout of the ITF World Tennis Number, aimed to accelerate participation growth in line with its 2024 strategic goals.

Its goal is to increase the number of tennis players globally and to provide development support for the most talented players, particularly in regions where resources are most needed. The report also contains performance data for 2017 through 2020, enabling the ITF to measure and benchmark its member nations’ involvement in the elite levels of the game. Data is provided for the number of players from each nation with junior and professional rankings and Grand Slam tournament main draw and qualifying places.

2019 performance data, used for its 2021 report as most representative of the international game given the hiatus in the 2020 tennis calendar, showed 113 nations with a professionally ranked player, while junior players from 148 nations held an ITF Junior World Tennis Tour ranking. This follows the Olympic tennis event at Tokyo 2020 which saw 45 nations represented, 142 nations competing in the Davis Cup by Rakuten and 116 nations competing in the Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas in 2020/21.

ITF President David Haggerty said: “Together with our 210 member nations, the ITF is committed to increasing the number of people playing tennis by an additional 30 million by 2030. Grassroots tennis is where it all begins, and our sport continues to prove its popularity and resilience despite the challenges of the past 18 months. The ITF would like to thank the 41 national associations that supplied the detailed data which has made this report possible. By having a clear understanding of the global landscape, the ITF can ensure an effective international development strategy and channel investment where it is needed most. This has never been more important than in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

To read the full report, go here.

Photo courtesy ITF