LTA eager to work with Andy Murray to increase tennis participation

first_imgThe chief executive of the Lawn Tennis Association has insisted that British tennis’s governing body has a productive relationship with Andy Murray and is determined to build on the former world No 1’s legacy.The LTA came under fire after announcing an £8.8m loss in its annual accounts last month, while recent figures showing that overall monthly participation in tennis has dropped by 9% lent weight to fears not enough is being done to build on Murray’s success. Sign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors’ picks. Share on Twitter Share on WhatsApp LTA Read more Support The Guardian Read more Share on LinkedIn Since you’re here… … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on Pinterest Topicscenter_img Tennis news Jamie Murray accused British tennis of wasting his younger brother’s decade at the top earlier this year and there was embarrassment in March when the publication of a rebranding strategy by the LTA failed to mention the Murray family. However, Scott Lloyd, who replaced Michael Downey two years ago, said that he has a healthy, open dialogue with the Murray brothers and their mother Judy.“I can’t speak for what went before me,” the LTA CEO said. “Anyone that has a passion for tennis, as Andy and Jamie clearly do, wants to see our sport thrive. What I want to do is take a sharper focus on how we invest the resources we have available to make sure we are investing behind things that have the biggest impact. The greatest legacy for Andy and Jamie would be to have a sport that’s thriving.“Jamie and I speak regularly. I think me, Jamie, Andy and Judy all share the same philosophy. We want the sport growing. That’s about the grassroots first and foremost. We have a very healthy and open dialogue with Andy and Jamie.”Lloyd was asked if the LTA has tapped enough into the Murray family’s expertise. “I’ve known Judy for a very long time,” he said. “I worked with her 20 years ago. Since I’ve started we have had an open dialogue on what we can do together.“We are working closely with Jamie on a few things. We’re working with him on a Challenger event we are bringing to Glasgow in September. This is all about trying to put on events in different parts of the calendar to sustain interest all year round. It’s going to be called the Murray trophy. For Andy and Jamie to be involved in helping the LTA deliver programmes inspiring kids, of course that’s what we want.” Jamie Murray: ‘You won’t get another Andy for God knows how long’ Share on Messenger Lloyd wants to alter the idea that tennis is an elitist summer sport and believes community programmes such as Serves, Tennis for Kids and Park Tennis will help. He is also encouraged about the LTA’s plans to develop indoor courts in 96 areas across Britain over the next 10 years.“I spent six months talking to people up and down the country about what more the LTA should be doing,” Lloyd said. “We’ve set about trying to open tennis up. I actually think it is more affordable than people appreciate. Last year we saw participation in park tennis grow 35%.“We’ve worked to identify where we need more indoor courts available on a pay as you play basis. We’ve identified 96 locations – 72 in England, 12 in Wales, 12 in Scotland – where there will be demand in tennis if there are indoor facilities all year round.“We have to work out what works best for British tennis and have a sharp focus on it, whether it’s performance strategy, investment or grassroots programmes.”Concerns that the landscape would be barren without Andy Murray, who will play doubles at Wimbledon as he continues his comeback from hip surgery, will be tested at SW19 over the next fortnight. Share via Email Share on Facebook “Investing in the 10-year performance strategy we launched last year will hopefully create a framework for athletically gifted children to take up tennis and ultimately become professionals,” Lloyd said.“In the men’s game we have Kyle Edmund, Cameron Norrie, Dan Evans. They’re in fantastic form. We have Jay Clarke and Paul Jubb coming up. On the women’s side the Fed Cup team are back in the World Group for the first time in 30 years. There’s a lot to be positive about.” The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian’s sport coverage Reuse this contentlast_img read more