The USTA has teamed up with Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf to encourage children to get healthy, active and into the game through the USTA’s 10-and-Under programme. The collaboration has launched a new commercial that went to air for the first time during the Olympus US Open Series and the US Open.
The commercial, which is titled Story Time, promotes the 10-and-Under rule change that the ITF approved at their AGM in 2010 and the USTA’s 10-and-Under programme that follows the rule by providing kids with an easy way to participate in tennis.
The 10-and-Under programme utilises the advantages of smaller courts, shorter rackets, slower-bouncing balls and simplified scoring – all designed to make tennis easier and more fun from the first time kids play. The campaign aims to increase youth participation and generate awareness among parents who want their young children to have fun while learning how to play tennis.
The USTA’s 10-and-Under programme is similar to Tennis10s, the official International Tennis Federation (ITF) format for introducing tennis to 10-and-Under players worldwide. From January 2012 the new rule mandates that all 10-and-Under competition will be played on smaller courts with slower balls. The traditional yellow ball will no longer be permitted.
Tennis10s is a supporting programme of Play+Stay, the ITF’s global campaign aimed at increasing tennis participation worldwide by positioning the game as easy, fun and healthy. Fundamental to the campaign is the use of the slower balls so that the first experience for starter players is a positive and dynamic one.
Story Time features Agassi and Graf reading a book to a group of children and narrating the story of a little girl named Sophie who just wanted to have fun. She tried playing tennis only to discover that the equipment and courts were not designed for kids to play on.
The commercial also uses animation to depict how learning and playing the game can be overwhelming for some children when they first begin learning the game. However, tennis sized-right for kids now allows them to enjoy playing the game from the start.
Agassi, a Hall-of-Famer and eight-time Grand Slam singles champion, and Graf, a 22-time Grand Slam singles champion and Olympic gold medal winner, are both widely known for their dedication to helping children reach their athletic potential through their philanthropic efforts. Agassi and Graf are great proponents of the rule change for 10-and-Under players and the impact it can have on a global basis.
“As a mother and life-long tennis player, I fully understand the importance of ensuring that kids properly learn the game of tennis at their own pace while also having fun doing it. Anytime kids can get a true feel for the game, it is best,” said Graf.
“10-and-Under tennis gives children the opportunity to experience authentic court movement, swing patterns and game strategy. It is real tennis and a step in the right direction to getting more young kids involved in the game that I love,” said Agassi.
For more information regarding the ITF Tennis10s programme and the Play+Stay campaign, please visit www.tennis10s.com