London, England, 1 March 2013 | International Tennis Federation

The International Tennis Federation (ITF), founded on 1 March 1913, on Friday celebrated its centenary as the international governing body of tennis with the publication of its new book The International Tennis Federation: A Century of Contribution to Tennis.

The book, published by Rizzoli New York, will be released on the inaugural World Tennis Day on Monday 4 March, when the ITF’s National Associations join some of the leading tennis stars to promote tennis participation around the world.

Written by Chris Bowers, the book charts the ITF’s important role over the past 100 years in developing tennis against a backdrop of political turmoil, the changing geography of the globe, and the impact that this shifting landscape has had on international sport.

ITF  founding members

“On our 100th birthday, I hope the full range of the ITF’s involvement in tennis will be recognised. Much as we highlight the successes of our top players, we are equally proud of our role in encouraging players at all levels to participate in the sport,” said ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti.

A Century of Contribution to Tennis reveals just some of the work of our 210 member nations, six regional associations and the thousands of volunteers who have worked tirelessly on behalf of the ITF to make tennis the global success it is today.”

Some of the highlights of The International Tennis Federation: A Century of Contribution to Tennis include:

  • a history of the formation of the International Lawn Tennis Federation (ILTF) in 1913, when a group of 12 tennis administrators gathered in Paris – with the four Grand Slam tournaments and Davis Cup competition already in existence – to found an umbrella organisation to allow their sport to grow with uniform rules, standards and expectations
  • the ITF today (the word ‘Lawn’ was dropped in 1977), now one of the largest international federations with 210 member nations
  • charting the ITF’s first century – particularly since the introduction of ‘open’ tennis in 1968 – and examining how the transition from amateur status to professionalism challenged the fundamental character of tennis, and the role of the ITF and its National Associations
  • the success of Davis Cup and Fed Cup competitions, whose growth has mirrored that of the ITF. The 100th Davis Cup Final in 2012 marked the start of ITF Centenary celebrations, while Fed Cup celebrates its 50th birthday in 2013 having been founded on the 50th anniversary of the ITF
  • the challenges navigated by the ITF along the way to tennis’s re-inclusion into the Olympics Games in 1988, and the impact this had on the growth of the sport in many regions
  • a look at the lesser known but equally important activities of the ITF, highlighting the pyramid structure in which much of the important work is done at grassroots level through its Development department and the dynamic rise of Tennis10s, wheelchair tennis and the relatively new discipline of beach tennis
  • a demonstration of how, through its cutting edge laboratory, the ITF balances technological developments in the sport while remaining true to the spirit of the game
  • the ITF’s role in officiating, including the establishment of the unified ITF Rules of Tennis, and the development of anti-doping and anti-corruption programmes.

Hawkeye at Hopman Cup

The ITF is launching World Tennis Day on Monday 4 March in a bid to promote tennis and increase participation among young players around the globe.

World Tennis Day will be centred around the well-established BNP Paribas Showdown in New York’s Madison Square Garden – featuring Rafael Nadal, Juan Martin del Potro, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka – and a new event of the same name to be played at the AsiaWorld-Arena in Hong Kong, featuring John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Caroline Wozniacki and Li Na.

Alongside these events, the ITF will be encouraging its 210 National Associations to support World Tennis Day with their own grassroots and club activities to attract new participants to the sport.

The International Tennis Federation: A Century of Contribution to Tennis will be available for purchase at the online ITF Store.