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LTA gearing up to launch 'bolder' facilities strategy

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The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) is gearing up to launch a “bigger and bolder” facilities strategy later this year, according to its director of participation.

Talking to Sports Management, Alastair Marks said that while the grassroots facilities landscape was “evolving” in Britain there were ambitious plans in the pipeline to make improvements which would be “built around good people”.

He revealed that while there was a good stock of 23,000 courts across the country – 15,000 in traditional clubs, 7,500 in local authority sites – 65 per cent of those needed improvements, while the lack of undercover courts (1,500) had given tennis a “weather surety” problem.

“We have quite a big capital programme in terms of servicing, lights and installing cafes, but in reality we don’t have enough money to do everything we’d love to,” he said. “We probably put £5m (US$7.1m, €6.2m) a year into grant funding for facilities but if you equate that to the landscape I’d say it goes far, but not far enough.

“We will announce plans later this year about how we’re going to do that in a bigger and bolder way. Fundamentally, it will be founded on good people first and built around them.”

Marks and the LTA have just launched a new scheme – called Tennis for Kids – in which 1,000 Level Two tennis coaches have been trained to run courses for 10,000 children aged 5-8 in schools up and down the country. He said it was part of the LTA’s “participation first” strategy, and had been launched to capitalise on Great Britain’s Davis Cup win last November.

“The LTA has woken up and become organised,” said the former Rugby Football Union (RFU) executive. “We’re creating connections with coaches and creating more partnerships with local authorities to get stuff happening back on park courts.”

Read the full interview in the latest edition of Sports Management here.

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The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) is gearing up to launch a 'bigger and bolder' facilities strategy later this year, according to its director of participation.
The facilities strategy will be revealed a year on from Great Britain's Davis Cup victory in Belgium in November 2015 / Press Association