USTA South Carolina is proud to be a part of the group of Greenvillians working toward a healthier, more active Upstate. Regarding the Feb. 17, 2021, article in The Greenville Journal about pickleball, I take issue with the notion that pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in America and that we need to convert tennis courts for pickleball.
Tennis participation in the United States increased by 22% in 2020, and nearly 22 million people played the sport last year, according to the recently released Physical Activity Council’s Participation (PAC) report, which surveyed more than 120 different sports and activities participated in by Americans.
Tennis was the sport people took advantage of in 2020 during a year when so many sports were put on hold. As our sport continues to grow, nearly seven million people were new to the game or returned as players during 2020. The growth from 2019 in both new and returning players is staggering.
Our adult league participation in the Upstate is the second largest in South Carolina, and we have the largest junior tennis leagues in the state. The participation numbers are strong evidence of a united tennis industry that worked together to ensure that tennis not only survived but that it thrived. Not only did participation numbers increase, but racquet sales in the entry-level category also increased nearly 40%.
The Athletic Court Stakeholder Committee with Greenville County Parks and Recreation focused on inventory, condition and locations of the tennis courts within the Greenville County Parks and Recreation system. And while we support the idea of a healthier, more active community playing racquet sports, we do not believe that public tennis facilities should be removed in order to make room for other sports, particularly since tennis continues to grow as a competitive and leisure activity.
James McKissick, President
USTA South Carolina