Since the beginning of the sport, tennis has always had an international flavor to it. Part of that comes from having four Grand Slams in four different countries. The truth of the matter is, a future champion can also train anywhere that has a court.
What are the 10 countries where tennis is most popular right now? Based on factors such as recreational play, accessibility, professional events, and current/former pros, these 10 stand out in the tennis community.
The All-England Club is the most storied location for tennis in the world. Even though they have not produced the number of champions recently that many people are hoping for, it does not get much bigger than this country in tennis circles.
One of the limitations of England is that there is minimal space for tennis courts. It is also a costly sport for a lot of players, which can frustrate those in the working class. Not only is court time expensive, but buying equipment and balls jump up quite a bit in price.
Still, England is the birthplace of modern tennis, and the fans come out in mobs every single year for Wimbledon. The popularity of tennis is not fading any time soon, especially with guys like Andy Murray injecting life into the United Kingdom fanbase.
No study is perfect, but many argue that Australia is the most rabid country when it comes to tennis in general. It is indeed popular at both the amateur level, and when watching professionals play. Australia always has some top professional players competing on the ATP and WTA tours.
One of the main reasons Australia is so excited about tennis is that they have an international tournament every year that puts eyes on the country. Also, It certainly helps to have world class players like Nick Kyrgios and Ashleigh Barty on the ATP/WTA Tour as well.
Australians do not get an opportunity to host a lot of international tournaments, but the Australian Open is one of the biggest showcases. Fans flock to Melbourne every year and pack the stadiums with fans excited about the game.
Every tennis fan knows about the French Open, and the fans who attend the matches for better or worse. They can be a bit rude at times for certain players, but they support tennis as a whole without question.
This is a sport that has been pretty popular in the country for over a century, and they have been able to produce some pretty outstanding players as well.
Currently, France is going through a bit of a lull as far as top-end talent is concerned, but they are hoping to turn the corner soon. They always have a few intriguing players in the top 20 capable of making a run at any Grand Slam.
4. United States
Until the last few decades, the United States has been a dominant force as far as tennis is concerned professionally. The big reason why is that it has been a pretty popular sport for a while now, even if there is a lot of competition in the United States.
One reason why the United States has kept its popularity with tennis comes down to the fact that there are a lot of courts available to the general public. This makes the game relatively easy to access, when it is much more of a struggle in countries that do not have as much space.
There are quite a few tennis courts in public parks that are completely free, but paying a nominal fee to get some playing time makes it much more accessible.
Equipment for tennis in the United States is also very affordable compared to the rest of the world. Players can go to a local store and purchase a beginner racquet and some balls for a pretty reasonable price. Even if they are never going to play at a high level, they still enjoy the sport.
Of course, having stars in the sport at the pro level helps a lot as well. Whether it is Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi on the men’s side, or Venus and Serena Williams on the women’s side, professional tennis players come from all walks of life in the United States.
Tennis popularity in Switzerland definitely has only gone up with the best player in the world wearing the country’s colors. Roger Federer has been at the top of the game for quite a while now, but he is hardly the first Swiss to have high-level success.
Players such as Martina Hingis, Stan Wawrinka, and more have all found ways to win at a high level. Not bad for a colder country with mountainous terrain and not a ton of open space. A lot of people not only watch the sport, but play it at the recreational level in the country.
Like other bigger countries, tennis has a lot to compete with in Spain. However, their recent success at the professional level has only increased the popularity of the sport.
Rafael Nadal is arguably the biggest name in Spanish sports right now, which is pretty remarkable considering their love for soccer. Other players have followed suit, and tennis overall is currently going through a bit of a boom.
There are a lot of clay courts available for players in Spain at the recreational level. Accessibility has always been a bit of a concern, but it is becoming cheaper and cheaper to play.
Spain seems not only to love tennis, but several other racquet sports as well. In particular, padel has exploded a bit because people have smaller areas to work with.
Throughout history, Belgium has always done a great job producing high-quality tennis players. Whether it is Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin, or David Goffin, the number of pros from a relatively small country is pretty remarkable.
Sandwiched in between two other countries that like tennis in France and Germany, it is pretty easy to see why there are plenty of participants.
Fans love the sport and will travel to route for their favorite players. At the recreation level, Belgium tennis is a strong option for those trying to stay fit. It is not particularly easy to find courts all the time, but those who love the game find a way.
Japan might not have the rich history of tennis like so many other countries on this list, but they have grown to love the sport quite a bit. There are so many people not only rooting on the top pros but also finding ways to participate.
Even though the major cities are pretty limited with space, making tennis courts a bit of a premium, there is a focus on developing top-end talent to compete with the best.
Naomi Osaka has really emerged as one of the faces of tennis, and she could help make the sport explode even more. On the men’s side, Kei Nishikori is helping out a lot as well. The future is bright for Japan, and they appear to be a mainstay on a list like this for years to come.
Steffi Graf and Boris Becker are just two of the big names to come out to Germany in the history of tennis. They don’t have a grand slam on their home soil, but that doesn’t mean that plenty of people love the sport and want to see it grow more and more.
The popularity of tennis has stayed pretty strong over the years, which has largely contributed to the amount of success they’ve had overall. It is also one of the most popular recreational activities for people to play in the country, and new chords are popping up all the time.
Only five Italians in tennis history have won a Grand Slam singles title in the Open Era, yet they continue to be one of the strongest all-around countries on the pro circuit.
Perhaps they get overlooked a bit because they do not have a true superstar, but recent standouts like Matteo Berrettini, Jannik Sinner, Lorenzo Musetti and Fabio Fognini are all threats to breakthrough at any tournament.
The women are going through a bit of a transition period, now that the likes of Flavia Pennetta, Roberta Vinci, Sara Errani, and Francesca Schiavone have either retired, or fallen down in the rankings.
Italians are always very passionate fans of tennis at tournaments, and it remains a very popular sport at the recreational level as well. It is one of many individual sports Italians love playing throughout their life to get regular exercise and stay in shape. Throughout Italy, there are some of the most beautiful tennis court locations in the world.
The Continued Growth of Tennis (Or Decline?)
Since 2004, tennis have had a slight decrease in overall interest. Will it start to increase the upcoming years? I think so.
Tennis might not be growing as fast as some of the other sports out there, but there are plenty of hotbeds popping up around the world that continue to keep the sport very popular.
For example, the small country of Serbia has only recently really fallen in love with the sport and what it brings to the table. With Novak Djokovic leading the charge, that popularity is not fading anytime soon.
Asian and Middle Eastern countries are also seeing the popularity of tennis and everything that goes along with it. Tournaments in China, Japan, Qatar, and more are making it a truly international game. Tennis may never be the top sport in any country, but its popularity grows each year in this side of the world.