From the ITF
LONDON, January 2, 2012 - The ITF's new rule for ten-and-under competition came into worldwide effect
New Year's Day, January 1. The rule states that ten-and-under competitions can no longer be
played using a regular yellow tennis ball, with
the mandatory use of slower ‘red’, ‘orange’ or ‘green’ balls on the
appropriate size court.
The new ITF rule was
approved at the 2010 ITF AGM in Washington. This was only the fifth
occasion the ITF Rules of Tennis have been changed in the history of the
sport, following on from the foot fault rule, introduction
of the tiebreak, introduction of set breaks and the new optional
The rule change is a key part of the ITF’s
Tennis10s programme, which promotes the use of slower and lower
bouncing balls, shorter and lighter rackets, and smaller courts to make
it easier for children to take up the game.
Tennis10s is a supporting programme of the
Tennis Play and Stay campaign, the ITF’s global initiative launched in 2007 aimed at increasing tennis participation worldwide.
Tennis Play and Stay centres around the slogan of ‘Serve, Rally
and Score’ and seeks to promote tennis as an easy, fun and healthy
sport. Fundamental to the campaign is the use of slower balls by coaches
working with starter players, ensuring that their
first experience of tennis is a positive one by serving, rallying and
scoring from the first lesson.
The three types of
slower balls are intended to be used at different stages of a player’s
development. The ‘red’ ball, made of foam or felt, is 75 per cent slower
than a regular yellow ball, and aimed at children
aged five to eight on a court sized 12 x 6m. The ‘orange’ ball is 50
per cent slower and aimed at eight-to-ten-year-olds on a court sized 18 x
6.5m. The ‘green’ ball is 25 per cent slower and aimed at more advanced
nine-to-ten-year-olds on a full sized court.
programme has already seen strong support from the ITF’s 210 National
Associations, some of whom have created promotions involving top players
and other famous personalities to help communicate
and implement the new rule change nationally.
Dave Miley, ITF
Executive Director of Development, said: “Nations that have already
adapted their competition to use the balls for this age group have not
only seen a significant increase in participation, but
are also witnessing large increases in sales of kids’ rackets and the
slower balls. There has also been a big improvement in the technical and
tactical quality of the ten-and-under players coming through into their
high performance junior programmes. As the
rule change takes effect in all of the ITF member nations, we expect to
see high growth in the number of ten-and-under children playing tennis
ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “The rule change is a great step forward for tennis. Tennis10s is improving the way we introduce tennis to young children and follows similar changes made in other sports. It is great to see such great results already in terms of increased participation.”