Tennis Industry magazine


Home of American tennis: The ‘Go-To’ Place for U.S. Tennis

Since opening in January, the USTA National Campus has been offering unparalleled playing experiences.

By Katrina Adams

First as a junior tennis player, then as a collegiate athlete and later as a touring pro, I found that there’s no better feeling than knowing you’ve worked hard to get ready for a match, and then having your performance meet — and sometimes even exceed — your expectations. I’ve discovered this to be true not only on the tennis court but also in the boardroom, which is where I have been spending much of my time for the past dozen years on the USTA’s Board of Directors, now as its Chairman, CEO and President.

Several years ago, when the USTA began seeking a new base of operations for our Player Development program, we met to discuss possibilities and opportunities, and our thinking evolved. Instead of simply moving Player Development to a new location, we decided to create an inclusive facility — the USTA National Campus, with 100 lighted courts on 64 acres at Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla. — that would go beyond Player Development and serve all tennis players, from young children and weekend warriors to collegiate players and touring pros. It would be a real game-changer. By building the USTA’s first year-round, outdoor tennis facility, we could impact the entire sport in the U.S. and help launch the next generation of tennis players and providers.

From the start, we referred to this state-of-the-art facility as the new Home of American Tennis — and that’s exactly what it has become. Since its public opening on Jan. 2, the USTA National Campus has proved to be everything we had hoped for and more.

Already this year, the USTA National Campus has provided a broader range of events and programs than any other tennis facility. While enhancing our ability to deliver on the USTA’s mission to grow the game, it has consistently delivered memorable experiences for players of all ages and ability levels.

Activities for young players have included summer and development camps, national championship events for juniors, Campus Excellence program for youths committed to competition and tournament play, high school matches and the inaugural USTA All-American College Combine scouting event, with more than 110 players from 25 states. The facility will stage the NCAA Division I team and individual national championships in 2019 and 2021, and the NCAA Division III national championships in 2022.

The facility is open to the public seven days a week and has courts of almost every description — three kinds of hard courts, two kinds of clay courts and a family tennis area of 36-foot and 60-foot courts for kids and adults to learn and play the game. The National Campus also has six indoor courts.

Adult programming includes Live-Ball, Cardio Tennis, Tennis 101, H.I.T.S. and adult open social play directed by Campus pros. Tennis programs also are being offered for disabled veterans, wounded service members and wheelchair players. We expect up to 100,000 people to visit the campus in 2017, with more than 100 international, national and local tournaments, including USTA Pro Circuit events.

Technology is omnipresent at the USTA National Campus. All courts (except for the Nemours Family Zone courts) have PlaySight live streaming, so players can review their performance after a practice or match, and friends and family can watch from back home. We have 32 PlaySight SmartCourts with interactive touch-screen kiosks, enabling players and coaches to use this cutting-edge teaching tool to analyze their games. I’ve seen young kids playing tennis just a couple of courts away from one of our professional players, and it’s an inspiring sight.

The USTA National Campus has also made it possible for us to fully implement USTA Player Development’s “Team USA” philosophy of collaboration, inclusion and support of the aspiring American players and their coaches who come to us to train and attend camps and workshops.

In making the decision to build the USTA National Campus, we all believed it would bring many people of many levels together. But I don’t believe in our wildest dreams we envisioned it would turn out to be such a hotbed of activity so soon, and be able to promote and develop the growth of tennis as much as it already has.

Sometimes, though, you plan for something, and the results exceed what you expected.

Katrina Adams is USTA Chairman of the Board, CEO & President.



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