LTA Announces £250 Million Investment As CEO Downey Ends His Tenure - UBITENNIS
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LTA Announces £250 Million Investment As CEO Downey Ends His Tenure

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The 2015 British Davis Cup Team (zimbio.com)

The British Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) will invest a record £250 million into improving tennis courts around the country in a bid to make the sport more accessible.

 

As part of the plan, the LTA aims to increase the number of covered and floodlit courts in the country by 50%. They will also implement an online booking system to make it easier for the public to find an available court. The ‘Transforming British Tennis Together’ scheme will see the body inject an initial £125 million into the programme. A further £125 million will then be implemented alongside local councils.

“At a time when more and more people are enjoying the resurgence of British tennis, we’re focused on getting the next generation of players on court and having fun.” Said Alistair Marks, the LTA performance director.
“Transforming British Tennis Together has been designed to tackle some of the most obvious challenges to doing that, and we’re excited about supporting communities across the country who we know are just as passionate about giving more people the chance to play tennis as we are.
“There’s never been a better time to invest in making our tennis courts the social hubs of communities once again.”

The aim of the scheme is to create 750 newly covered courts and 4000 additional floodlit ones within the next decade. LTA CEO, Michael Downey, told The Guardian that participation in the sport has increased by 6% on a ‘monthly participation basis.’

There is a wider picture to the high value plan. It is also part of the LTA’s objective to get more children playing tennis and encourage adults to play the sport throughout the year. According to BBC Sport, a pilot scheme in Sheffield recorded a participation increase of 54% since 2015 following a £1.5 million investment.

Downey’s farewell

Thursday’s announcement comes on the penultimate day of Downey’s job at the LTA. After three-and-a-half years, the Canadian will be returning back to his home country to do a similar role. He was previously the head of Tennis Canada for nine years. Speaking about the new scheme, he hopes that it will break down the stigma of tennis being regarded as a sport for the elite.

“Tennis tends to be rooted in this club network. So if we’re going to turn around the sport for the long haul we’ve got to get more participation in parks, so you’re getting a mainstream audience. That would help change perceptions.” He said.

It hasn’t always been plain sailing for Downey. One of his most vocal critics is world No.1 Andy Murray, who once declined spending time with him because ‘nothing ever gets done.’ In recent years the LTA has come under fire for their management. One of the most memorable was the £40m National Tennis Centre, which failed to work.

Reflecting on his time in the role, Downey now admits that he should have made a greater effort to communicate with Murray.

“I probably would have dedicated more time to it. I spent a lot of time trying to lead the organisation and build and operate a new strategic plan. I should have spent more time trying to talk to Andy.” He said.

Replacing Downy will be Scott Lloyd, who farther David reached the semifinals of the 1973 Wimbledon Championships. Lloyd won’t be taking the position until January 2018. Until then, the management will be supported by figures such as Stephen Farrow, the tournament director of the Aegon Championships.

 

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Emil Ruusuvuori upsets Aslan Karatsev in Nur Saltan

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Emil Ruusuvuori upset Aslan Karatsev 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 to advance to the quarter finals at the Astana Open in Nur Sultan. 

 

Ruusuvuori has reached the semifinals in Atlanta and Winston Salem and beat Alexander Zverev en route to the fourth round at the Miami Open last April. 

The world number 84 set up a quarter final match against Ilya Ivashka in the quarter finals. Ruusuvuori will be bidding to take a re-match against Ivashka, who won their previous head-to-head match in Winston Salem last August. 

Alexander Bublik came back from one set down to beat Miomir Kecmanovic 2-6 6-3 7-5. Bublik set up a quarter final match against Carlos Taberner, who rallied past Egor Gerasimov 5-7 7-6 (7-5) 7-5. 

Soonwoo Kwon knocked out Dusan Lajovic 7-5 6-4 after 1 hour and 38 minutes setting up a quarter final against Laslo Djere. 

James Duckworth edged Filip Krajinovic 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 to get through to his first quarter final of the season. Duckworth will take on reigning Astana Open champion John Millman.  

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Hubert Hurkacz beats Lucas Pouille to advance to the quarter finals in Metz

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Top seed Hubert Hurkacz eased past Lucas Pouille 6-2 6-3 with three breaks to advance to the quarter final at the Moselle Open in Metz after 68 minutes. Hurkacz has extended his lead to 3-1 in his head-to-head against Pouille. 

 

Hurkacz broke twice in the second and eighth games to win the first set 6-2. He claimed the second set with another break in the fourth game.  

Hurkacz was playing for the first time since his second round defeat against Andreas Seppi at the US Open.  The Polish player, who won at Delray Beach and the Miami Open last March and is currently ranked ninth in the ATP Race to Turin, set up a quarter final against Andy Murray. 

“It was a good match from my side. Lucas is a great player. He is playing very aggressively. H eis coming back and I have high hopes I will see him closer to the top 10, he has the game. It was really great to play here in front of you guys, it was a lot of fun. I was able to practise here a couple of times on this court, so that helped for sure. I played two doubles matches with my friend Jan Zielinski. I really enjoy playing here and it is nice to see the crowd. It is a great atmosphere. ”, said Hurkacz. 

Gael Monfils beat Phillip Kohlschreiber 7-6 (7-2) 6-4. The first set went on serve with no breaks en route to the tie-break. Monfils earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-2. Monfils went up a 2-0 lead with a break in the first game of the second set. Kohlschreiber broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Both players traded breaks in the seventh and eighth games to draw level to 4-4. Monfils broke for the third time in the ninth games and served out the win at love. 

Monfils set up a quarter final match against Nikoloz Basilashvili, who came back from one set down to beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 0-6 6-4 7-6 (7-4). 

Davidovich Fokina broke serve three times at deuce to win the opening set 6-0. Basilashvili claimed the second set 6-4 with a break in the first game.

Davidovich Fokina earned the first break of the third set on the fourth deuce to take a 2-0 lead. Basilashvili broke back in the seventh game to draw level to 4-4. Basilashvili saved four break points in the 10th game. Davidovich Fokina fended off five break points to hold serve in the 11th game after 10 deuces. Basilashvili earned three match points at 6-3 with three mini-breaks. Davidovich Fokina saved a match point, but Basilashvili sealed the win on his second chance. 

German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk edged past Karen Khachanov 6-3 7-6 (7-2) to advance to his third quarter final of the season. Gojowczyk claimed the first set 6-3 with a break in the fourth game. The second set went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Gojowczyk got three mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-2. 

Gojowczyk set up a quarter final against Marcos Giron, who upset Alex De Minaur 7-5 7-6 (7-5). De Minaur went up a 5-1 lead with two breaks. Giron pulled both breaks back to draw level to 5-5. Giron won the final two games with a break in the 12th game. De Minaur broke serve in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead. Giron converted his second break-back point to draw level to 6-6. In the tie-break Giron went up a 3-1 lead with a mini-break. De Minaur broke back to draw level to 3-3 and earned another break to take a 5-4 lead, but Giron won the final three points to claim the tie-break 7-5.

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Maria Sakkari beats Jelena Ostapenko to reach the quarter final in Ostrava

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Number 4 seed Maria Sakkari beat Jelena Ostapenko 6-4 6-2 after 1 hour and 23 minutes in his opening match at the J&T Banka Ostrava Open to reach her seventh quarter final of the year. 

 

Sakkari and Ostapenko were tied 1-1 in their previous head-to-head matches. Ostapenko beat Sakkari 6-2 4-6 6-2 on green clay at Charleston 2017. Sakkari took a re-match over Ostapenko with a 6-1 3-6 6-2 win over her Latvian rival. 

Sakkari has continued her successful season highlighted by two Grand Slam semifinals at Roland Garros and at the US Open. Ostapenko reached the final in Luxembourg last week. 

Ostapenko saved two break points in her first three service games at deuce. Sakkari converted another break point in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead. The Greek player broke serve in the first game of the second set with a forehand winner. 

Sakkari got a double break in the third game and held his next service games to close out the second set 6-2. 

Number 7 seed Elena Rybakina qualified for her sixth quarter final of the season with her 6-3 2-6 6-1 win over qualifier Magda Linette after 1 hour and 37 minutes. 

Rybakina earned her first break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. The Kazakh player saved three break-back points in the fourth game and sealed the first set 6-3 with a double break in the ninth game at deuce. Linette earned an early break in the first game of the second set. Rybakina broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Lynette won the final four games with a double break to take the second set 6-2. 

Rybakina earned her first break point in the third game at 2-1 lead, as Linette made a double fault. The Kazakh player broke serve at love in the fourth and sixth games to win the third set 6-1. Rybakina set up a quarter final clash against number 1 seed Iga Swiatek in their first head-to-head clash. They have never met at WTA Tour level. They met twice at junior level a 1-1 tie in their two head-to-head matches. Swiatek beat Rybakina 6-2 6-2 on hard court at Repntiny 2018. Rybakina this defeat by beating her Polish rival 1-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 on clay in the final of the Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan.

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