LTA chief hopes Andy Murray’s US Open success can inspire more adults to play tennis
LAWN Tennis Association chief executive Roger Draper hopes Andy Murray’s historic success in the US Open can help turn around a fall in the number of adults playing the sport.
• LTA chief executive Roger Draper hopes Andy Murray’s first Grand Slam can arrest fall in number of adults playing tennis
• LTA had funding cut after disappointing participation figures
The LTA had their funding cut by Sport England in April due to disappointing participation figures.
Murray’s Olympic triumph sparked an increase in club membership and Draper is banking on his US Open victory - the first British male Grand Slam singles champion for 76 years - having a similar effect.
Draper told the Press Association: “When Andy won the Olympics, 4,000 new members signed up in the space of a week.
“The message we are getting is that there has been an upturn in people wanting to get involved.
“We had a drop-off in adult participation and then a bit of a bounce back and we know we still have a lot to do, particularly on the adult side of things.
“Certainly Andy’s success keeps people talking about tennis and the big job now is to convert them from armchair followers into real tennis players.”
Draper said there were 23,000 courts in Britain and the LTA was working on “dispelling the myth” that tennis was an expensive, middle class sport. “It’s not expensive to play at local level,” he added.
In April, Sport England announced a £530,000 funding cut to tennis due to an almost 25% drop in the number of adults playing the sport since 2008.
The LTA’s funding award for 2009 to 2013 now stands at £24.5million. Sport England’s Active People survey showed that the average number of adults playing tennis at least once a week declined from 487,500 in 2008 to 375,800 in 2011. The latest results for 2012 showed participation had recovered to 417,700.
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Monday 20 May 2013
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