The ITF today announced the launch of Tennis Xpress, a new supporting programme aimed at adults as part of its global participation campaign Tennis Play and Stay.
Tennis Play and Stay is the ITF’s global initiative launched in 2007 aimed at increasing tennis participation worldwide. Tennis Play and Stay centres around the slogan of ‘Serve, Rally and Score’ and seeks to promote tennis as an easy, fun and healthy sport. Fundamental to the campaign is the use of slower balls by coaches working with starter players, ensuring that their first experience of tennis is a positive one by serving, rallying and scoring from the first lesson.
Tennis Xpress is an active and dynamic introduction for starter adult players and recommended by the ITF as the best way to learn the game. Designed as a nine-hour course over six weeks for clubs and tennis facilities, Tennis Xpress is centred on the use of slower Green balls (25% slower) and Orange balls (50% slower) to ensure that players quickly learn the rules of tennis, and the basic techniques and tactics of tennis, in an active way.
Participants will be able to play competitively by the end of the course, and provided with the most suitable further playing activities using Green or Yellow Balls. The Green ball is now an official ball under the ITF Rules of Tennis and can be used at all levels of competitive play at national level.
The launch of Tennis Xpress follows the successful introduction in 2010 of Tennis10s, another supporting programme of Tennis Play and Stay designed to increase participation among the 10-and-under age group through the use of slower balls, smaller courts and modified rackets. Alongside this programme, the ITF introduced a new rule in 2012 that states then ten-and-under competitions can no longer be played using a regular Yellow ball.
The Tennis10s programme has already seen strong support from the ITF’s 210 National Associations and significant increases in participation, and the ITF will now be working with its member nations on the implementation of Tennis Xpress courses around the world.
Dave Miley, ITF Executive Director of Development, said: “Research has shown that health and exercise benefits, and learning and improving at something new, are of particular importance to adults when choosing their leisure activities. The Tennis Xpress course ensures that adults learn to play tennis quickly while having a great workout and a sociable and fun experience. We believe that this programme will have a big impact globally in both attracting and retaining new players in our sport.”
ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “Tennis10s has improved the way we introduce tennis to young children, and it is encouraging to see such great results already in terms of participation. We believe that Tennis Xpress can be equally effective in attracting new adult players to the sport.”
The new Tennis Play and Stay website www.tennisplayandstay.com provides access to information on the campaign and each of its supporting programmes, including Tennis Xpress. The website includes a National Associations area that allows each federation to showcase and share information relating to their specific development programmes.