Sept. 13 - Serb phenomenon Novak Djokovic snagged the second biggest purse in tennis history at the U.S. Open, but despite the lack of U.S. winners, tennis is still growing an serving up billion of dollars in economic activity. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Serbia's Novik Djokovic powered through the U.S. Open, snagging a $2.3 million pay day, the second biggest in tennis history. Meanwhile, Samantha Stosur is the first Australian woman to win a major since 1980. Noticeably absent at the top - an American. But despite the lack of a major U.S. win in any of the big competitions - tennis is continuing to grow in the U.S. According to the Tennis Industry Association participation is up 46 percent from 2000 to 2010. Jonathan Vegosen is head of the U.S. Tennis Association. SOUNDBITE: JONATHAN VEGOSEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES TENNIS ASSOCIATION (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Tennis happens at the grassroots level - that's where it's at. And we are certainly doing a lot of things in that regards in parks, camps, schools, we're also in schools." And that's promising for the tennis industry, which saw $5.6 billion in economic activity last year. And even in a tough economy the USTA says it brought on new partners and sponsors at this year's U.S. Open. But for a bigger serve, the industry is looking to its smaller players, in a strategy called "Ten and Under Tennis". SOUNDBITE: JONATHAN VEGOSEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES TENNIS ASSOCIATION (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Well we finally had, I guess what I call I duh moment, and we said we've gotta kid-size this sport. We need shorter rackets. We need shorter nets. We need smaller courts and we need balls softer that will not bounce over kids heads. And these kids are playing real tennis using this equipment and they are having tremendous success and most importantly a lot of fun." REPORTER STAND-UP: CONWAY GITTENS "Here at NYC Racquet Sports they have a whole room dedicated to young players, in a sign the industry is playing-to-win when it comes to grooming a new generation of Grand Slam champions." Conway Gittens, Reuters