- Nearly 5 million Canadians played tennis in 2023, a YouGov Canada study found
- The National Growth and Development Strategy is scheduled to be launched in 2024
Tennis is expected to soar in Canada after the sport saw a significant spike in interest and participation rates in 2023, according to the results of a YouGov Canada study commissioned by Tennis Canada. Nearly 5 million Canadians picked up a paddle last year, and youth participation (ages 6-17) saw significant growth (+11% through 2022).
This is the first time there has been a significant rise in both categories since COVID-19, and it is on track to reach pre-pandemic levels in the near future. In 2023, tennis is ranked as the fourth* most popular sport by interest and fifth** by participation in Canada. Compared to 2022, the number of young Canadians who said they were interested in tennis increased by 10% over the past year.
The study suggests that tennis shows no signs of a double fault in 2024. 25 per cent of Canadians under the age of 12 played tennis last year, with an even greater number indicating they are likely to continue doing so over the next 12 months. 31% of Canadians over the age of 12 say they will definitely or probably play tennis next year — the highest rate since 2019 — while 30% of Canadians are willing to enroll their children in programming next year, up from 23% In 2022. Click testis To see the highlights of the study.
“The growth we have seen in interest and participation in 2023 is very encouraging, especially among younger demographics and after several very difficult years not just for tennis but for all sports due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Gavin Ziff, CEO. Tennis Canada. “It cannot be overstated how much influence our top Canadians can have at a grassroots level, inspiring the next generation to pick up a racket. However, it must be said that all of this would not be in vain without the continued and tireless work of our talented team and our provincial and territorial partners to ensure the transformation of Focus on engagement through accessible programming. With so much to achieve over the next 12 months, our aim is to build on these results in 2024.
These positive results come against the backdrop of Canadian tennis's unprecedented achievements on the world stage. The country's first Billie Jean King Cup title in Seville and Sobes' Davis Cup Champions Tour, which saw the iconic trophy travel the length and breadth of the country after Team Canada's victory in November 2022, were major highlights, as were Canadian victories at the Grand Slam and Tour levels, headlined by Gabriella Dabrowski and Erin Routliff win the women's doubles title at the US Open, the first in Canadian history.
at the same time, The National Bank is open Presented by Rogers (NBO) Attendance records were broken in Toronto (+175,000) and Montreal (+219,000) as fans flocked to the premier Canadian and World Tennis Championships to watch the world's best players compete in person at Sobes Arena and IGA Stadium respectively. .
“As players, it's a given that our goal is to win matches and titles,” said Bianca Andreescu, the 2019 US Open and NBO champion. “But it goes further than that. If we can inspire Canadians to get interested in tennis and play it, we help grow the sport. As someone who is as passionate about the game as I am, it's very rewarding, and I'm very happy to see more people playing in Canada.”
Capacity building and right-sized programming are key
Along with success at the high performance level, Tennis Canada has set out to increase accessibility across the country. Through Rogers' year-round community tennis courts program, five domed tennis facilities have been constructed since the beginning of 2022 with a total of 26 courts covered to provide year-round access to 4.1 million Canadians. The National Bank Play Your Court program has seen two parks receive funding in 2023 to revitalize their outdoor facilities at Stanley Park (Vancouver, British Columbia) and White Oaks Park (London, Ontario). Both programs are scheduled to announce more projects for 2024.
Meanwhile, game. hiring. justice. Committed to partnering with National Bank is working to create sustainable change for women and girls in all areas of Canadian tennis, and has gained international exposure by winning the ITF Gold Advantage All Award in October. Thanks to the Community Tennis Grants, the initiative has provided ten recipients from four provinces and one territory with funding of up to $5,000 each for their programs in 2023. Rogers First Set is designed to inspire youth and families in communities across Canada to try and learn tennis. The Basic Tennis Skills program was launched in July and is scheduled to be rolled out to all 10 provinces in 2024.
The National Tennis Growth and Development Strategy will be launched in 2024
To meet the demands of a growing participant base, Tennis Canada and its partners in the Provincial and Territorial Tennis Association in December unanimously approved the National Tennis Growth and Development Strategy, which is scheduled to launch in 2024. The strategy represents consensus on priority areas that will support the growth of the sport over the next five years. .
“We have achieved a major milestone collaborating with our partners at PTTA to align with Tennis’ growth strategy,” said Eva Havaris, Vice President of Engagement and Partnerships at Tennis Canada. “Our mission is to drive the growth, development and promotion of the sport while supporting positive tennis experiences. To do this, we need to increase access and focus our collective efforts on initiatives and programs that will have the greatest benefit to the sport and participants in the long term. The future is very bright for tennis in Canada.”