An addictive new online tennis game is set to become the bane of employers around the world, as workers attempt to win the Grand Slam during working hours. Stick Tennis is the latest game from Stick Sports – publishers of the world’s most popular free online sports games and the team behind the Internet phenomenon Stick Cricket. Just like its sister cricket, football, baseball and motorsports games, serves up exciting, enslaving and infuriating online sports action that’s easy to play but fiendish to master.

Stick Tennis is already hitting the sweet spot for online gamers with an impressive 800,000 visits in its first test month, over a third more than Stick Cricket managed when it first launched.

The majority of Stick Tennis players are young male professional office workers, who average around 16 minutes of playing time per visit. This means that if the number of players continues to grow at its current rate it could cost British employers nearly £75m in wasted wages as employees play over the ‘net during working hours.

Players can choose to hone their backhands and volleys in the ‘All Star Smash’ against a choice of three opponents, from novice to Hot Shot. Alternatively, they can take aim at tournament success by competing in ‘Grand Slam: Australia’ and choose from the widest number of real-world male professional players of any online tennis game, from Andy Murray to Roger Federer.

In customary Stick Sports style, the controls are straightforward but allow a good selection of forehands, backhands, lobs, volleys and smashes. The retro feel is appealing to young and veteran gamers alike and the three difficulty levels provide a suitable test for any player. Players can choose from one, three or five set matches, so it’s the perfect diversion for a coffee break, a lunch hour or a long, boring conference call.

Interactive online games have emerged as one of the most exciting and effective marketing platforms and Stick Tennis is no exception. The game provides a platform for a variety of ad formats, including rich media, video pre-rolls, custom page and takeovers, providing companies with unrivalled opportunities to market to its youthful, predominantly male game players. From simple branding to competitions and product placement, Stick Sports’ games have customisable content to fulfil any company’s marketing objectives and reach more than 2 million monthly users who are overwhelmingly young male professionals with disposable income.

Developments are well underway to provide a selection of variations on the game and its features. A ‘head2head’ option will allow players to battle it out with other online players around the world. Users will also be able to build their own ‘player profiles’, increasing their rank and status with each victory. Further enhancements will enable gamers to go for world domination by winning each country’s most prestigious tennis tournament.

Stick Sports’ publisher Paul Collins said, ‘Stick Cricket’s easy charm and addictive game play knocked online gamers for six when it launched in 2004. Such has been the impact amongst young male professionals that it was rumoured to have affected the GDP of Great Britain and Australia. With Stick Tennis already more popular than was Stick Cricket at the same stage of its development, it looks like game, set and match for productivity at work.’