Nov 25, 2012, 3:55:44 AM

The future growth and development of tennis is something that must never be forgotten. Getting more people to play the sport is crucial and by more people playing the sport there is the increased chance of future...
The future growth and development of tennis is something that must never be forgotten. Getting more people to play the sport is crucial and by more people playing the sport there is the increased chance of future champions being developed. The creation of Tennis10s is one such initiative that is addressing the situation. Kids are being introduced to the sport with softer balls, adjusted scoring, court lines that are smaller and racquets that are smaller and easier to handle. It keeps their minds focused if they are able to achieve something. We all know youngsters get bored or fed up of things quickly if they are not able to see something positive come through. However, if they are able to keep a ball in play and gain satisfaction then there is a greater chance they will stick to tennis. The project developed by the International Tennis Federation has been picked up much steam in recent years that new rules have been brought in for youngsters. One other way for kids to embrace the sport is to be able to see their favourite stars and legends of the sport up close and personal and World Tennis Day is addressing that. The first Monday of March each year is being declared World Tennis Day and in 2013 that falls on 4th March and one of the most exciting concepts tennis has been part of makes its debut. When you talk tennis sponsorship the connection is with BNP Paribas the world’s biggest sponsor of global tennis. Enter Jerry Solomon, President of StarGames Inc, with the involvement of the ITF, has created World Tennis Day to benefit Tennis10s and the future grassroots development of the sport. “World Tennis Day and the BNP Paribas Showdown will bring more attention to Tennis Play and Stay and Tennis10s, two programs with proven success in growing participation,” said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti. “World Tennis Day will give the ITF and our member nations an opportunity to showcase their efforts to grow tennis, while fans can also enjoy some of the game’s brightest stars playing in events like the BNP Paribas Showdown.” Solomon created the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden in New York and over its five year history has become a massive success. The USTA became involved which allowed tennis clubs to get involved. It was a steamroller effect. As Tennis Night in America grew more tennis entities joined in. That is the aim of World Tennis Day. Now Solomon is taking the concept outside North America because there is also a Showdown in Montreal, and Hong Kong is the city to kick things off on World Tennis Day. “With five successful years of the BNP Paribas Showdown in New York, the time is right to expand this to a global event with the World Tennis Day platform,” said Solomon. “The popularity of tennis in Asia made it natural for us to pursue an event in this region. Hong Kong is proving to be a fantastic partner, and BNP Paribas, as the world’s biggest sponsor of tennis, is the perfect title sponsor.” If you were around in the late ‘80’s for Live Aid you will remember there was a massive concert in London where Phil Collins was one of the headline acts; he then took the British Airways Concorde across the Atlantic and again performed at Live Aid in Philadelphia on the same night. That is sort of the concept behind World Tennis Day. Like New York, Hong Kong is a city that never sleeps and it will host one night of tennis unlike anything Asia has ever seen. Certainly the anchor is the tennis which will feature Li Na, Caroline Wozniacki, Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe but around that will be social functions and tennis clinics for kids which will be worked by the Hong Kong Tennis Association. The lines on the court will resemble those used for Tennis 10s and some very lucky kids will get the chance to associate with these great names. WTD will then move through to New York where it will culminate with the BNP Paribas Showdown at The Garden and there it will be Serena Williams playing Victoria Azarenka and Rafa Nadal, in his first North American showing for a year, facing Juan Martin Del Potro. The on-going plan is that more cities will be added in future years as hosts for a Showdown and being part of World Tennis Day and that can only be of benefit to the future of tennis.