The first female president of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) Cathie Sabin, has died of cancer in a Shrewsbury hospice at the age of 73.
Quite simply, she will be sorely missed by all of us in tennis in Britain and beyond LTA
From Much Wenlock in Shropshire, she was a former PE teacher who rose through the county system to take over as president of the LTA in 2013, during which time Britain won the Davis Cup.
A keen player herself she was instrumental in promoting the game at grass roots level during her time in charge.
Following her death, the LTA stated: “It is impossible to do justice to quite what Cathie contributed to tennis since she first picked up a racket aged seven. But at the centre of it, lay a love of bringing more people into the sport and an incredible passion for recognising the people and volunteers from club to national level who help to grow tennis in Britain.”
The statement added: “Cathie had an infectious positive attitude and an ability to engage with people from all walks of life – qualities that were admired by all those who knew and worked with her.
“Quite simply, she will be sorely missed by all of us in tennis in Britain and beyond.”
Judy Murray described her as “an absolute tennis gem” and stated on twitter she was “incredibly warm, down to earth, [and a] special woman”.
In acknowledgement of her services to tennis she was appointed OBE in the 2016 New Year Honours. Prior to that, she had been Teacher of the Year (2000), the National Volunteer of the Year (2009) and subsequently received the top LTA award – the Carl Aarvold Award – in 2019.
She first became an LTA councillor for Shropshire in 2001 she joined and chaired various committees, subsequently retiring from teaching at Idsall School in Shifnal in 2005 to concentrate on her various duties and roles at Roehampton, the LTA’s national headquarters.
In 2007 she joined the LTA Board and in 2011was appointed deputy president before acceding to the presidency two years later. She represented the LTA on the Committee of Management of The Championships from 2010 and was a member of the ITF Olympic Committee form 2015.
In a final tribute the LTA said: “Cathie was a great friend to LTA colleagues. Her heart remained with county tennis and she considered clubs, schools and the county scene to be the bedrock of tennis and where the development of the game should be encouraged.”
Her passing is indeed sad news.