About Tennis Play+Stay?

The Tennis Play and Stay Campaign


In February 2007 the ITF officially launched a global campaign aimed at increasing tennis participation worldwide. The Tennis Play and Stay campaign aims to promote tennis as easy, fun and healthy, and to ensure all starter players are able to serve, rally and score from their first lesson.  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, where players are able play the game.

The Campaign

It has been traditionally said that tennis is good at attracting new players to the game, but less effective at retaining them. Reasons for players leaving the game include:

  • a feeling that tennis is a difficult game to play for starter players, because courts are too big and balls are too fast and bounce too high
  • traditional teaching methodology which is perceived by many starter players as boring, overly technical and not relevant to their needs and abilities
  • competition from many new and exciting sports and leisure activities. Many of these activities are easy to master and have short or no learning curves
  • a feeling that tennis and tennis competition in particular, is not convenient. Formats do not suit starter players who are usually eliminated in early rounds, and formats last too long
  • the lack of promotion of tennis as a healthy, lifelong game which can be enjoyed by players of all ages and abilities
  • a lack of adaptation of the game to suit the needs and modern lifestyles of players

Key Messages

The aim of the Tennis Play and Stay campaign is to address these issues, promoting the game as easy, fun and healthy, through 5 key messages:

Tennis is easy…

  • when coaches use the slower Red, Orange and Green balls

Tennis is fun…

  • when starter players serve, rally and score from the first lesson

Tennis competition is fun…

  • formats & scoring systems exist to suit all lifestyles

Tennis is healthy…

  • when players serve, rally and score; research supports this

Tennis is a sport for all…

  • everyone who can serve, rally and score should have a rating

The campaign has proven very successful with 160+ nations introducing programmes using slower balls and smaller courts or adopting Tennis Play and Stay as their national participation programme. During the intervening period  since 2007, the campaign has also seen the launch of Tennis10s in 2009 and a significant change within the ITF Rules of Tennis. The Rule Change in which the standard Yellow ball was eliminated for 10-and-under competition, was unanimously approved by the ITF AGM in 2010 and came into full effect in January 2012.

Tennis Play and Stay Family

The Tennis Play and Stay campaign has a series of supporting programmes to assist with the introduction of tennis to different target audiences, as well as programmes that work at the club level to retain more players in the sport. These include:

  • Tennis10s
  • 11-17s Programme (Currently under development)
  • Tennis Xpress
  • International Tennis Number (ITN) (Currently under review & development)
  • Tennis Play and Stay Clubmark (Currently under development)

Click here to learn about the Tennis Play and Stay family.

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