By Joe De Luna :: Photography by Kelsey Grudle
The history of tennis most similar to our modern game dates back to the 1500s. It was a game for royalty during the 1800s and it made its way into the 1930s and 40s as a growing global sports interest despite WWII. By the 1970s and 80s, with expansive television and media coverage, tennis was at a Golden Age. With icons like Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors that helped tennis to flourish, it was at an all-time high in popularity. On the women’s side, Billy Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Tracy Austin were an amazing influence on women’s tennis and tennis overall during that time.
We move forward into the 2000s and experience a tennis Renaissance, as some of the greatest players and champions the tennis world has ever seen have emerged. Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic have dominated men’s tennis for almost two decades. We won’t forget Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi as two amazing American players prior to the 2000s, among others. Today’s game is as strong as ever.
When we talk about tennis, we don’t only focus on the professionals. We have to talk about how tennis is a sport that grows every year. While not by a huge percentage, there has been growth in participation annually for the last ten or so years. The biggest growth each year is in youth tennis. This a great sign for the future because when you start as a youth, there is a good chance that you will continue to play with some frequency for the rest of your life. It’s no wonder tennis is known as a sport for a lifetime. The second highest growth group annually is adults over 45 years old. What this means is that tennis can be passed from generation to generation as these two groups annually show the most growth and participation.
This is when the family aspect is introduced. My parents introduced me to tennis when I was young after they started playing with friends. It’s a great trend for families as parents can share the game with their children and they can play as a family for years to come.
We see a lot of this at the Tennis Club at Cordillera Ranch. It is so great to know that these children will continue to play and then pass the sport on to their children. With this evidence, it shows that tennis popularity is here to stay and tennis is a true sport for life and family.
Joe De Luna is the Director of Tennis at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 210.363.9004.