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Downey exits LTA, but ‘focus remains’ on grassroots tennis

By Matthew Campelli    12 Jan 2017
Downey joined the LTA from Tennis Canada in January 2014

Michael Downey, the chief executive of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), will step down in June after three years in charge to take the same role with Tennis Canada.

Downey joined from Tennis Canada in January 2014, and was tasked with overseeing a period of transition, with the LTA attempting to halt and reverse the decline in participation by focusing on grassroots tennis.

In 2015, he put together a new British Tennis strategy, which involved working with more local authorities, training children for free and investing capital in improving facilities.

Downey said he was “honoured” to have held the position, although ultimately he wanted to return to his home country.

“I am hugely proud of the foundations the team at the LTA has laid in order to turn Britain’s beloved sport around,” he added.

“It’s an exciting time for tennis in this country and I look forward to the next six months, maintaining the momentum we’ve built in our continued mission to get more people playing tennis more often.”

Since taking over the role, Downey has overseen a number of initiatives to encourage people onto the court.

The LTA spent more than £1m (US$1.2m, €1.1m) on its Tennis for Kids scheme, in which more than 10,000 children received free coaching for six weeks and a free racket.

More recently, the organisation has pledged to plough capital into the renovation of several park courts, while £7.5m (US$9.2m, €8.6m) will go towards the development of dozens of undercover facilities in Scotland.

“The progress we have made under Michael’s stewardship will continue,” said David Gregson, chair of the LTA.

“We will remain focused on grassroots tennis. Michael has worked hard to ensure that the British Tennis strategy to get more people playing tennis more often is embedded in the organisation and more broadly among the tennis community.”

LTA  tennis  Michael Downey  grassroots  facilities  governance 
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