Downey to go
In what can only be described as surprise announcement, the LTA has today issued a press release stating that the CEO of the sportÈs governing body, Michael Downey, is retiring.
I've been honoured to have led the LTA over the last three years
The Canadian, who began work in January 2014, has handed in his resignation and is now working out his six months notice with a view to return to Canada and take up the position he left there to join the LTA, namely CEO of Tennis Canada!
The news that he was to leave has shocked those within the glass walls of the LTAÈs Roehampton HQ as Downey cites a desire to return to his native land being his main motivation for leaving.
"I’ve been honoured to have led the LTA over the last three years, as we’ve sought to drive grass-roots tennis.
"While the opportunity for me to return to Tennis Canada coincided with my personal desire to return to my home country, I am hugely proud of the foundations the team at the LTA have laid in order to turn participation in Britain’s beloved sport around.
"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."
How successful he has been will no doubt be debated over the coming months but he himself believes he has made a major contribution to the game by changing its outlook and concentrating on the development of the game at the lower end of the spectrum.
The latest signs that there is an improvement in participation indicate that nearly 1.8million Brits are now playing monthly, up 1 percent from last year.
However, the comments that Andy Murray has made declaring the governing body is dysfunctional and revealing that he has only spoken to Downey once, would indicate that there could be more to the 59 year-oldÈs sudden decision to depart back from whence he came.
Meanwhile the LTA Board has started his search for a world class successorÈ replacement and have appointed David Gregson to head up a sub-committee to find a new CEO.