How Many People Play Tennis in the World?

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Tennis is one of the most popular games in the world, with millions of people regularly engaging professionally or at amateur levels. It’s fun, it’s fast, and a very competitive sport. But how many people play tennis exactly? If you are looking for a short summary of what statistics say, then you have just landed on the right page.

key findings from the tennis demographics report

Here are a few key findings about the report.

Key Takeaways From The Report

  • Worldwide, there are 87 million tennis players, or approx. 1.71% of the population. 
  • The gender split of the players is 59% males and 41% women
  • 25 million players live in Europe, with 12% of them living in the UK. 
  • In total, there are 3619 professional ranking players
  • In total, there are 149k registered coaches, but 19% of them work only in 19 nations. 
  • For every tennis coach, there are 588 players. 
  • Only 22.3% of coaches are women, but there has been a slight increase compared to 21.5% in 2018. 
  • There are 578 thousand tennis courts in total, an increase of 28.2% compared to 2018. 

About This Report

According to the International Tennis Federation rapports, there are, in total, 87 million unique players worldwide, which make up for approximately 1.71% of the global population. These data come directly from 41 National Associations that have taken into account all the people engaging in the sport, including wheelchair tennis or beach tennis participants.

Compared to 2018, there has been an increase of 4.5% of tennis players that have played at least one game within a period of 12 months. However, only 7 out of 100 players have registered at their national association, which will make them eligible to compete in organized tournaments. 

The Distribution of Players Worldwide

With tennis popularity on the rise, many people might wonder which countries have the most players. Well, the data are pretty clear on this topic also, according to IFT rapports. 90% of players live in Europe, Asia, and Nothern America, which are the region with the most tennis activities. 

distribution of tennis players

The country with the most players is the United States of America, with 17.84 million players, or 24.6% of the total numbers. The growth of the numbers has not been high; however, it has been constant, with 0.9% more compared to the data report of 2018. 

Regionally, the highest number of players is located in Asia, with more than 33 million participants. These are the combined data of several Asian countries, in which China leads with 22.9% of players, followed by India with 10.2%, and Japan with 4.6% of total players. 

The combined data of several European countries show that in the European region, there are, in total, 25 million tennis players. It is worth noticing that 9 out of 10 players ( approximately 88.8% of the total numbers) live in the following countries; France, Germany, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, or the Czech Republic. 

In the UK alone, there are about 3 million players or 12% of the total numbers of the European countries. The UK tennis players report having participated in tennis games at least four times during a period of 12 months. 

The Gender Balance 

The IFT reports show that of 87 million tennis players, 53% of them are men, and 47% are women. The region that has the most gender balance among tennis players is Africa, with 50.3% of its players being females. 

gender distribution of tennis players

All other regions are dominated by male players, even though the disbalance is not overwhelming. According to IFT, the region with the least female players is Central America, and the Caribbean, which score the lowest percentage, only 34.5%. 

Does Age Matter? 

There isn’t any barrier in tennis for amateur players when it comes to age. Even the data show that people from all age groups engage in the game as a great way to keep their bodies moving for their health’s sake. In the USA alone, 40% of players are past 35, and 10% of them have pushed 50s or older. More and more clubs are adjusting their gears to welcome senior citizens that have reached their 80s or more. 

distribution of professionals ranked players in the top 500

However, as with any other sport, in tennis, age is a contributing factor to the players’ performance when it comes to competing professionally. Nowadays, the average age of tennis players has increased compared to just a few decades ago, mostly due to improvements in fitness and nutrition regimes.

In 2019, 58.3% of ranking professional players in the ATP top 500 were 25 or older. Only half of the players that made it to the list were 24 or younger. This is quite impressive, considering that only 30 years ago, the average age of ranking professional players was 23. Things have changed significantly, with 90% of ranking players for both women and men ranging between 19 to 32, on average. 

At the top of the list are even professionals pushing for their forties and still competing on very high levels. Players like Roger Federer (41), Rafael Nadal (36), and Novak Djakovic (35) have definitely set new standards for physical performance, successfully surpassing any expectations. 

Junior Players

According to IFT data, there are 7275 junior tennis players from across 148 different nations that have competed at least once during a period of 12 months. However, about 75% of these players are located in only 37 nations. In the gender split, the report shows that 3.703 of them are females, and 5.572 of them are males. 

distribution of junior players

The region with the most junior tennis players is Europe, with 46%, which is an overwhelming difference compared with the rest of the world. However, the country with the most registered junior players is the United States which leads with 8.9%, followed by Russia with 5.4% in the second place, and France in the third place with 3.8%. The region with the least junior players is Oceania, with only 3.8% of the total number. 

distribution of junior ranked players

During 2019, 712 junior players made it to the list of Junior Top 250, and some of them even at the professional ranking list. More than half of these junior players came from Europe, which takes the lead with 55.5%. The region with the least ranking junior players is Central America and the Caribbean, with only 1.4%. It’s worth noticing that 75% of the total number of the ranking juniors came from 10 nations only. 

The nation with the most ranking junior players for both boys and girls is once again, the United States of America. (11.5% for boys and 12.1% for girls) 

Professional Players

There are in total, 3619 professional tennis players ranking on the list of ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) or WTA (Women Tennis Association). These players come from 113 different nations; however, 75% of them come from 24 countries only, and 58.8% are from Europe. 

distribution of professionals ranked globally

The country with the most professional tennis players is the United States of America, which tops the ranking list with 10.1% of players. Other countries that follow are France with 6.3%, Italy with 6.0%, and Russia with 5.5%. 

distribution of professional ranked players in the top 250 globally

According to the IFT rapport, in 2019 there were 640 professional tennis players, from 68 different countries that made it to the Top 250 Ranking. However, 50% of the men players that ranked high on the list were from 7 countries only, while 50% of the women players came from 9 countries. The most represented region on the Top 250 Ranking list is undoubtedly Europe, with 62.2% of the total players for both men and women, while on the opposite end of the list is Central America and the Caribbean, with only 0.9%. 

Tennis Coaches

According to ITF they are 149.110 registered tennis coaches in 2019, as reported by 41 National Associations. These numbers refer only to those individuals who are legally trained and certified to train players and are officially recognized, whether it is by the ITF organization or a national association. 

distribution of tennis coaches by nation

Compared to 2018, the numbers have increased by 6.9%; however, 90% of these coaches live in only 19 countries. The region with the most registered coaches is Europe, with 59.9%, but the US leads the way nation-wise, with 10.1%. 

The surveys show that for one coach, there are, on average, 585 players, but the number might vary depending on where you live. Regarding the gender balance, there has been a slight increase in women coaches, which now make up for 22.3% of the total numbers, 0.6% more compared to 2018. The region with the best gender balance is Asia, with 28% of its coaches being women.

Total Numbers of Tennis Clubs

Since 2018, there has been a significant increase in the total number of tennis clubs across the world. 40 out of 41 National Associations have identified 115.584 registered tennis clubs, more than double compared to the earliest rapport. However; 90% of tennis clubs are located in 13 nations only, with 80.3% of them spread in two regions only; North America and Europe. North America also has the highest proportion of tennis clubs for the population. 

distribution of tennis clubs by nations

Total Number of Tennis Courts 

With continuously growing numbers of tennis players across the world, the need for more tennis courts has also increased. According to IFT, there are a total of 578.681 identified courts, 28.2% more compared to 2018.

It’s worth noting that 90% of these courts are located in only 19 nations and more predominantly in Europe, Asia, and North America. The combined data from 41 National 

distribution of tennis courts by nations

Associations show that players have a better infrastructure compared to the previous reports since it is estimated that there is at least one tennis court for 151 players. In 2018, the number of players was 185 for a single court. 

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I am Mario, a tennis player passionate about encouraging others to join the sport.

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