THE LTA has today announced a multi-million pound package of additional funding and measures to support those involved in tennis in Britain through the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

The comprehensive package, which has been developed by the LTA in consultation with Tennis Scotland and Tennis Wales, will make additional support available to tennis venues, coaches, officials and players to the value of up to approximately £20m, with the goal of ensuring that tennis in Britain emerges from this period in as strong and healthy a position as possible, and that the sport is able to resume its unique role in keeping the nation active as soon as conditions allow. 

The funding and support will aid those who have been most severely affected by the pandemic, many of whom have seen their income streams reduced while still needing to pay bills and support families. The focus is on protecting the grassroots of the sport, but measures have also been put in place to support professional British tennis players and coaches, including financial grants for some lower ranked players who depend on limited tournament prize money to continue in the sport.

It adds to an existing programme of investment and support that the LTA has continued to make available both during and after the pandemic as part of its strategy to grow tennis and open it up to many more people.

Scott Lloyd, LTA Chief Executive, said: “The first priority at this time is the health and wellbeing of everybody, and our thoughts are with anyone who has been affected by the coronavirus. Our sport is far from exempt from its impact, and this pandemic has the potential to put the continued future growth of tennis at significant risk. We know that many involved in tennis in Britain are concerned about their futures and are facing significant challenges, and so our primary objective in announcing these unprecedented measures is to ensure clubs and venues remain viable and coaches and officials are not lost to the sport.  

“We hope that the combination of this new package and the continuation of our existing support will help ensure they are all able to operate post COVID-19. We want them all to play their part in delivering our collective vision of opening up tennis to many more people through activity like our LTA Youth programme to engage the next generation in tennis and our LTA Rally digital platform that will help people easily find and book tennis courts and activities.”

The LTA is committing to make significant savings to help fund the new package, as well as reallocating some funds from its reserves. The organisation has also announced furloughing measures to its workforce whilst the current rules around social distancing and venue closures make it increasingly difficult for the LTA to deliver normal levels of activity, with any staff furloughed receiving a top up of the Government scheme to 80% of their base salary.  Alongside this, LTA Chief Executive Scott Lloyd and the Executive Team will be taking a 20% reduction in salary.

Throughout the past few weeks the LTA has been and will continue to be involved in regular conversations with the Government to outline the challenges the sport is facing, and has been vocal on the need for support for the self-employed and for clarity around insurance provisions.

The measures announced by the Chancellor to support business and the self-employed are very welcome, and the additional support now being provided by the LTA has been designed to complement them.