Tennis Seeing Growth In Hispanic Demographic As Participation Rates Rise In U.S.
Puerto Rico native Monica Puig has "tapped into a fast-growing Hispanic demographic that has not been widely represented in tennis and has thus lagged in its participation in the sport," according to Mary Pilon of the N.Y. TIMES. The 19-year-old Puig is ranked No. 44 in the WTA singles rankings, and is "among a handful of younger tennis players resonating with Spanish-speaking fans" at the U.S. Open. In recent years, the trend of low Hispanic participation in tennis is "showing signs of reversal." USTA data shows that the total participation of Hispanic players in '12 was 3.84 million, "up from 2.58 million" in '10. Hispanics "represented only" 13.7% of total players, while making up 16.7% of the overall population in the most recent census. While there are "many top Spanish-speaking players from Spain and South America, there have been only a handful of Hispanic-American tennis stars." During Puig's first-round U.S. Open match on Monday, "rows of fans were brought to their feet in reaction to the play on court, drowning out the noise in the other courts." Puig said, "Everywhere I go, there's always Puerto Rican fans. It's very exciting and it's nice to have that fan base and have people from my neck of the woods" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/28).