Three thousand is a big number in baseball. Those who reach the 3,000 hit mark (think Mays and Musial, Cobb and Clemente) are all but assured a plaque in Cooperstown. But it’s a big number in tennis, too. In fact, the USTA recently refurbished in 3,000th court — the most ever by the USTA in a single calendar year — and plans to celebrate the feat at Atlanta’s Grove Park on Nov. 30. Grove Park is emblematic of the 502 facilities that have been upgraded by the USTA in 283 markets throughout the country.
Through its facilities assistance group, the USTA has succeeded in the construction and renovation of 3,000 courts in 45 states this year. The courts were either constructed or refurbished by painting permanent 36-foot and 60-foot lines on existing 78-foot courts, or constructing stand-alone 36-foot and 60-foot courts. The courts were built in public parks, schoolyards, and at community-based youth organizations, like the Boys and Girls Club.
The USTA’s efforts are in accordance with the ITF rule that now requires all youth courts be specially lined or built to enable participation of the 10 and Under Tennis format, which consists of modified equipment, including smaller courts, lower nets, smaller rackets, low-compression balls, and a easy-to-digest scoring system. The new rule takes effect on Jan. 1, 2012.
“The USTA committed to impacting 3,000 courts in 2011, and we succeeded,” said USTA President Jon Vegosen. “By investing in local infrastructure, we can continue to grow the game at the grassroots level, energize players of all ages and help improve communities across the country.”
“We are delighted to welcome the USTA to Atlanta as they celebrate this significant milestone,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. “The investment from these new tennis courts — seven of which are right here in Atlanta — will have real tangible benefits for our residents and young people for many years to come. I applaud the USTA for their dedication and commitment to encouraging young people to lead an active and healthy lifestyle.”
For more info on 10 and Under Tennis, visit www.10andundertennis.com.