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Youth tennis on the rise in Tulsa

Posted: 7:20 PM, Aug 03, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-03 21:05:51-04

On a bright, warm Saturday afternoon, several youth tennis players served it up at the LaFortune Tennis Center.

In 2013, American men’s tennis player Andy Roddick won the U.S. Open. Since then, no other American male has won a major.

But in recent years, the sport has seen a growth in the USA – with 17.9 million players, which is up one percent from 2013, according to the Tennis Industry Association.

“Even with the male side, even though we haven’t had a dominant male since Roddick, but it’s still on the rise,” Director of Tennis Operations at LaFortune Park Tennis Center Melissa McCorkle said. “We are followers of John Isner. They may not be winning the big ones, but men’s tennis has definitely seen an increase.”

The only other American man to appear in a major final was Andre Agassi, who lost to Roger Federer at the U.S. Open in 2005. But that factor alone hasn’t stopped the sport from growing.

“Tennis is definitely a sport you want to get your kids into because it’s a lifetime sport," McCorkle said. "You’re not going to sit on the bench. When you play tennis, you play no matter how competitive you are. It’s fun for every single level."

American women's tennis star Serena Williams is a dominant force in women’s tennis. She has won more singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles combined than any other pro - male or female.

“I think the top players especially the Williams sisters – Venus and Serena – really brought the game numbers up," McCorkle said. "You have younger players looking up to them and mimicking them. Their success has definitely grown the sport."

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