August 3 2009, 12:06 PM
Tennis is the fastest-growing sport in America, with an increase of 43 percent from 2000 to 2008, according to a report released by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association in March. As Kurt Kamperman, the Denver-based chief executive of community tennis for the United States Tennis Association, tells The New York Times, the USTA's own research shows that nearly 27 million Americans played tennis in 2008, the largest number in 15 years. Six million of those people were trying the sport for the first time. Kamperman and other tennis enthusiasts are trying to get more people into tennis, which they say is relatively cheap and easy, with so many cities across the country home to countless tennis courts. The National Junior Tennis League just hosted a leadership camp in Denver for youths from middle- and lower-income neighborhoods across the country, aiming not to find the next up-and-coming star to market, but hoping to give kids another way to have fun and exercise. Also, the demographic diversity at the Denver camp elicited a subtle message, the Times writes: "A love of tennis does not have to bloom out of an expensive country club."