Marketing the Game

In 1997, the ITF began a long-term international marketing research project to ascertain participation trends and attitudes to the game of tennis. The research showed that tennis continues to grow in the vast majority of ITF member nations. However it was highlighted that there were some concerns in the more mature tennis nations.

Building on this three-year research, the ITF developed a series of activities that focused on increasing tennis participation and the growth of the game.

The initiative involved a number of key partners who influence and contribute to the growth of the game including:

  • National and Regional Associations
  • Leading players
  • The tennis industry
  • Sports marketing and communication experts
  • Development Directors of the respective tennis organisations

Upon completing this research, a decision was made to organise the 'Marketing the Game' Summit in September 2000. The top (most mature) tennis nations, together with the ATP Tour, WTA Tour and other constituents of the game, met with the ITF to discuss how best to market the game of tennis and increase participation in tennis, whether it be the number of:

  • Players coming into the game
  • Spectators and followers of the game
  • Purchasers of tennis related material

ITF International Tennis Rating taskforce

Following on from the 'Marketing the Game' Summit, it was decided to implement a number of projects including the development of an international tennis rating system. In early 2001, an International Tennis Rating taskforce was established by the ITF with its overall mission statement being:

‘To create, utilise and promote an international tennis rating system that will help grow all levels of competitive tennis participation worldwide.’

The International Tennis Rating taskforce consisted of experts in competition and rating systems from some of the world’s leading tennis nations and was chaired and coordinated by ITF Executive Director of Development, Dave Miley.

ITF International Tennis Rating Taskforce consisted of:

  • Peter Johnston, Tennis Australia (AUS)
  • Martin Reiter, Tennis Austria (AUT)
  • Allard Elema, Koninklijke Nederlandse (NED)
  • Jean-Francois Magne, French Tennis Federation (FFT)
  • Wolfgang Burkhardt, Deutscher Tennis Bund EV (GER)
  • Martin Rands, Lawn Tennis Association (GBR)
  • David Schobel, United States Tennis Association (USTA)
  • Dave Miley, ITF / Chair (IRE)
  • Frank Couraud, ITF (FRE)
  • Miguel Crespo, ITF (ESP)

The development of the ITF International Tennis Rating System

Following an initial meeting of the International Tennis Rating taskforce in July 2001, a strategy was formulated to develop an international tennis rating system that could be used by countries which currently had no national rating system and could also be used in conjunction with those rating systems currently in place in some of the more established tennis nations.

The taskforce, with help and advice of a tennis marketing company, decided on a name for the rating system – the ‘ITF International Tennis Number’ or ‘ITN’.

Tennis Play and Stay campaign

The ITN is a supporting programme of the ITF Tennis Play and Stay campaign. Organised tennis competition must work at the club level within clubs and at their tennis facilities. It is an important objective of the Tennis Play and Stay campaign. Click here for more information regarding the Tennis Play and Stay campaign.

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