A pandemic is a great way to get people to be more active, especially when the safest place to be is outdoors.
That’s where I’ve been the last two years, but that really isn’t anything new.
What is new is the number of people playing tennis, which is my No. 1 sport to participate in. According the U.S. Tennis Association, tennis participation increased 27.9 percent from 2019-2021. There are 22.6 million players in the United States, of which about 4.9 million are the newbies.
Of course all these new players mean more racket sales. Tennis Industry Association says sales increased 22.7 percent in 2021 compared to 2020, with 3.4 million rackets sold. The dollar value in this time frame surged 46.2 percent to $122.9 million.
While not new to the sport, I’ve been playing more tennis in the last year than years past. It has to do with more flexibility in my work life compared to running a 24/7 news site in Tahoe, as well as having more courts than just one primary one in Baja, and wanting to meet people in my new hometown of Chico.
I’ve met a great group of guys to hit with at the public courts, and fabulous women to play singles and doubles with at the private club. Just recently I’ve become a sub in a clinic taught by the club’s pro where doubles strategy is the focus. One would think I was a newbie to the sport based on what I’m learning. It’s been fabulous.
One of the great things about tennis is that all ages can play it. I started as a kid and continue to play now that I’m in my mid-50s.
I’m excited my niece is taking lessons after not playing much since high school. She’s in her 30s now. I’m looking forward to her next visit to Chico so we can hit some balls.
Tennis really is a lifetime sport, the cost is minimal, and the rewards are immense. Some of my best friends are the ones I met on the tennis court. I can’t imagine not playing. I often say being on the tennis court is being in my happy place.