Each year, USTA Florida observes Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of the Hispanic and Latino citizens whose ancestors come from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The timeframe of September 15 through October 15 is significant because several Central and South American countries celebrate their independence during the 30-day period.
Geographically and demographically, Florida has always stood out from the rest of the country. It’s a place several different people consider home — from northeastern retirees on the Gulf Coast to Cuban immigrants in Miami and Puerto Ricans in Central Florida — the Sunshine State is a land of transplants and a community that is progressively diverse. According to 2019 population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 21.48 million people who reside in Florida, and of that number, more than 5.6 million (26.4%) of the Florida population identify as Hispanic or Latino.
Due largely to its proximity to the Caribbean and the influx of international travel and trade with South and Central American countries, Florida tennis has a long history of Hispanic influence. USTA Florida has been focused on celebrating the impact this community has on tennis over the past 10 years and is working to not only increase tennis participation in these communities, but also to involve the fast-growing population on the court. The most recent data from the Physical Activity Council and the Tennis Industry Association shows that out of 17.84 million tennis players across the United States, 1.92 million are Hispanic. That may only be 10.8% of tennis players nationwide – but it is still a large, impactful number worth paying attention to.
From National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) chapter support to launching “Tenis para Todos,” an outreach campaign aimed at promoting physical activity, particularly tennis, in the Hispanic and Latino communities – USTA Florida has taken a lot of steps towards incorporating the Hispanic population in the tennis world. There has also been outstanding Hispanic and Latino participation in the USTA League program, with teams that bring enthusiasm, skill and excitement to local area play and our USTA Florida League Section Championship events.
This population adds greatly to the diversity and the joy that tennis brings to all Florida tennis players, and USTA Florida is proud to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in September and October. Be sure to check out www.USTAFlorida.com as well as our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for features all month long.
To learn more about USTA Florida’s diversity initiatives, places to play, and to find out how you can get involved, visit www.USTAFlorida.com/diversity.