January 4, 2018
"We know it’s only the beginning."
From Grand Slam champions to children picking up a racquet for the very first time, the USTA National Campus has become the home for growing tennis in America at every level.
And on Thursday, fans and dignitaries gathered at the sprawling complex in Lake Nona, Fla., to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the world-class facility opening its doors to the public.
As the anchor of Lake Nona’s Sports and Performance District, the USTA National Campus has made a splash over the past 365 days, gaining the attention of the tennis community in Orlando and beyond.
With 100 courts spread across its 64-acre site, the USTA National Campus is one of the largest tennis facilities in the world, hosting everything from adult and youth programming to collegiate tennis and elite player development.
The lifeblood of the USTA National Campus is the programming that is available to local residents on a daily basis. With after-school and weekend youth programming, daily adult sessions and youth and adult camps, hundreds of Central Florida tennis players are utilizing the courts under the direction of the USTA National Campus professional staff.
USTA President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board Katrina Adams said the impact of the USTA National Campus has been bigger than she ever imagined, and she promised even more to come in the coming years.
“To say this has been an amazing year for the USTA National Campus would be an understatement,” Adams said. “When we set out to create this place, we wanted to design a facility that would be all things to all levels of players. That’s a pretty large challenge, but working as a team, we rose to that challenge in an equally large way.
“While it was a great beginning, we know it’s only a beginning. We know that there are so many more success stories yet to be written here, for every level of player, and we are determined to write them. So as we celebrate this anniversary, we do so with an eye toward future anniversaries, greater success and the continued growth of the sport we all love.”
The campus played host to more than 100 local, regional, national and international events in 2017, ranging from community events and Junior Team Tennis National Championships to USTA Pro Circuit events and collegiate conference tournaments.
At one end of the scale, more than 500 children under the age of 18 participate each week in the campus’ youth programs. At the other end, the campus embraced its role as the new home of USTA Player Development, welcoming more than 600 top American current and aspiring professional tennis players who were assisted by Team USA coaching, training and medical staff.
In total, more than 150,000 hours of court time were booked to players of all ages and abilities last year, and that number is only expected to grow in 2018.
The USTA Pro Circuit is returning to Lake Nona this year with tournaments in January and March, and USTA League, the world’s largest recreational tennis league, will once again crown dozens of champions over five different weekends at the USTA National Campus later this fall.
Also returning in 2018 is College MatchDay, one of the USTA’s primary platforms to showcase college tennis, featuring a slate of eight matches on six dates that will highlight some of the nation’s top college tennis programs. Last year, more than 300 colleges and universities played at the campus.
USTA Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Gordon Smith said the facility allows the USTA to pursue its mission to grow the game and help the next generation of American players.
As part of his pledge Thursday to build on the campus' growth in 2018, Smith announced that Tennis Channel will be building its own broadcast center at the National Campus to broadcast events on-site.
"This campus has allowed us to do so many things," Smith said. "It's allowed us to bring all of our resources together and so many talented people here to make a tennis laboratory like nothing in the world. I don't believe I can be contradicted when I say more tennis talent is accumulated here than in any other place at any other time in the history of the planet.
"When you put this incredible range of world-class talent across multiple disciplines in one place, they interact as never before. The results aren't just additive, they're exponential."
Looking ahead in 2018, USTA University, a broad professional development initiative that will help prepare the next generation of tennis providers, will launch and a new coaching accreditation program aimed at setting mandatory standards for the development of those new to the profession will be offered across America.
Further ahead, the USTA National Campus will host the NCAA Division I men’s and women’s collegiate championships in 2019 and 2021, as well as the men’s and women’s Division III championships in 2022.