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Djokovic, Murray, Bryans & Former Greats Take Part In World Tennis Day

London, England

World Tennis Day© Getty ImagesIvan Lendl, Pat Cash, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi will contest the World Tennis Day Showdown in London.

The ITF’s member National Associations will join some of the world’s leading tennis stars in celebrating the second World Tennis Day today. World Tennis Day aims to promote tennis and increase participation among players around the globe, with over 60 nations already confirmed to take part.

This year’s World Tennis Day will be centred around three special events, organised by the promoter StarGames, in three different time zones in Hong Kong, London and New York. The events will feature current and former professionals together with junior and wheelchair demonstrations, including the ITF’s Tennis Play and Stay campaign.

Tomas Berdych, Lleyton Hewitt, Li Na and Samantha Stosur will be in action in the BNP Paribas Showdown at the Hong Kong Velodrome; Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Pat Cash and Ivan Lendl will contest the World Tennis Day Showdown at London’s Earls Court; and Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, and John McEnroe and Patrick McEnroe will take part at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Alongside these events, the ITF has encouraged its National Associations to support World Tennis Day with their own grassroots and club activities to attract new participants to the sport. These include the United States Tennis Association (USTA), which has already established the successful Tennis Night in America in conjunction with the BNP Paribas Showdown in which clubs are asked to open their doors as part of a month-long drive to get children playing the sport. To date, more than 6,500 youth tennis events have been held as part of that initiative.

Many nations will be promoting the Tennis Play and Stay campaign, the ITF’s global initiative launched in 2007 aimed at increasing tennis participation worldwide. The campaign centres around the slogan of ‘Serve, Rally and Score’ and seeks to promote tennis as an easy, fun and healthy sport through the use of slower and lower bouncing balls, shorter and lighter rackets, and smaller courts. Under the Tennis Play and Stay banner, the Tennis10s programme makes it easier for children to take up the game, while TennisXpress is an easy, active and fun coaching programme for adults.

“The inaugural World Tennis Day proved to be a very successful initiative, using high profile special events to bring attention to the developmental activities of our member nations on every continent,” said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti. “The enthusiasm and commitment of our National Associations to World Tennis Day in its first year was inspiring and we expect an even greater take-up in 2014 and beyond. March 3rd will be an important day in the international tennis calendar with huge focus on our sport on World Tennis Day.”

BOLLETTIERI, BARRETT ELECTED FOR ENSHRINEMENT

Legendary coach Nick Bollettieri is among five people elected for International Tennis Hall of Fame enshrinement.

The 82-year-old Bollettieri has coaches 10 players who have reached World No. 1, including Andre Agassi, Jim Courier and Boris Becker. He has also worked with current stars Tommy Haas, Kei Nishikori and Ryan Harrison. In 1978, he founded the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, the first full-time tennis boarding school that integrated intense athletic training on and off the court with academic curriculum.

John Barrett, also 82, a leader in many areas of tennis, from broadcaster to tournament director, equipment representative to player, has also been elected for enshrinement.

Barrett is one of the game's premier historians and authors. Barrett is married to former 1993 Hall of Famer Angela Mortimer. The Barretts are the second married couple to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, joining Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf.

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