Lawn Tennis Association Slashes Funding For Doubles Players, Singles Players Over 24
The Lawn Tennis Association "has announced a dramatic cut in elite player funding, with all financial support being withdrawn from Britain’s doubles specialists and any singles players aged over 24," according to Simon Briggs of the London TELEGRAPH. The move "is expected to reduce the number of supported players from 16 this year to just six in 2014." The overall performance budget, meanwhile, will come down from £12M ($19.2M) to £10M ($16M) "in line with a process of retrenchment that is affecting all the LTA’s activities." As the LTA "braces for the impact of a smaller surplus from the All England Club" -- a "knock-on effect" from the 40% increase in Wimbledon prize money this year -- a freeze "has been placed on capital investment in local tennis clubs." Meanwhile, Commercial Dir Lawrence Robertson and Marketing Dir Adam Mason "have departed ahead of the arrival" of new CEO Michael Downey on Jan 6. What is alarming, however, "is how much of an about-turn the announcement represents" -- and "how it fits into the pattern of the LTA’s regular rethinks." It is two years since Performance Support Head Simon Jones announced that "funding would be extended to more players" -- particularly older players -- because “we are realising how long the journey is; the average age of the top 20 singles players is 27" (TELEGRAPH, 11/8).