USTA And ITA Enter Into Expanded Strategic Alliance To Elevate College Tennis

Unites States Tennis Association (USTA)

ORLANDO, Fla., May 22, 2024 (USTA Press Release)

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) have entered into a new strategic alliance that expands upon the existing collaboration between the two organizations to strengthen and elevate collegiate tennis.

The expanded five-year agreement between the sport’s national governing body and its college coaches’ association, which also serves as the national governing body for college tennis, comes at a pivotal time for college athletics and aims to advance the organizations’ shared vision to support the growth of tennis. The new agreement will focus on coaching education, community usage of college facilities and technology integration, amongst other initiatives.

College tennis is a critical part of the player pathway as it not only serves as the aspirational dream of thousands of youth tennis players, but also plays a pivotal role in helping to ensure players stay in the game for life,” said Craig Morris, Chief Executive, Community Tennis, USTA. “The USTA is proud to continue our impactful work alongside the ITA to enhance the college tennis experience as part of our mission to grow the sport of tennis.”

“Given the complex, challenging, and ever-changing arena of college athletics, the world of higher education, and the evolution of the global tennis ecosystem, the ever-growing partnership between the ITA and the USTA creates an important and very solid foundation for the success of our sport moving forward,” said ITA President and Chief Executive Officer of the ITA, Dr. Timothy Russell. “Speaking personally, and on behalf of our Association, our members and fans of college tennis, I want to applaud and thank the leadership team of the USTA for their wide-reaching efforts in advancing college tennis.  The ITA is committed to growing the game together with the USTA.”

One of the key pillars of the agreement is to build upon the organizations’ ongoing work to improve coaching education and the recruitment of future coaches. This includes support of the ITA’s Center for Coach Education, which is an evolving online resource and series of in-person programs for active college coaches and prospective college coaches. Additionally, the ITA will work with the USTA to identify candidates to join the coaching pathway, with a particular emphasis on female and minority coaches.

The agreement will also further integrate the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) World Tennis Number (WTN) into collegiate tennis, both through technology integration and branding opportunities. The WTN will continue to be the exclusive rating of the ITA and will be featured across the ITA’s events and platforms. Additionally, the WTN will be the presenting sponsor of the ITA’s Summer Series and featured in the broadcast coverage of the DI National Men’s and Women’s Team Indoor Championships. The further integration of the WTN across collegiate tennis, including more WTN-powered events, will play a major role in the continued adoption of the WTN across the tennis ecosystem.

Both organizations are also committed to continuing efforts to encourage colleges and universities to open their varsity tennis facilities to the public. College tennis programs are one of the few collegiate sports that have the unique ability to turn their primary competition space into a “community hub” by hosting private and group instruction, tournaments for all ages and abilities, USTA League play, coach education workshops and community service offerings. This will not only create a new revenue stream for the school’s athletics department, but will also help foster a connection between the tennis program and the school’s student body, faculty and staff, as well as the local community. The USTA will assist each of these community hub locations with the integration of various programs and initiatives in order to ensure tennis reaches new audiences and is being delivered at a high level to local players of all levels.

Additional components of the strategic alliance are technology integration, education for prospective college student-athletes as the pathway from junior to college tennis continues to be strengthened, advancement of college wheelchair tennis, and the cross-promotion of key college tennis events and programs throughout the year.