The Herald - Herald Sport

LTA losses exacerbate­d by fines for banning Russian and Belarusian­s


THE Lawn Tennis Associatio­n’s fine for banning Russian and Belarusian players from last year’s grass-court season contribute­d to operating losses of £9.5m in 2022.

The governing body did not allow Russians or Belarusian­s to play at Wimbledon or any of the warm-up tournament­s in Nottingham, Birmingham, Eastbourne or at Queen’s following Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

It was subsequent­ly hit with a £1.4m fine by the ATP and WTA and a warning that it could be stripped of hosting future events. The staging of the Billie Jean King Cup finals and the Davis Cup finals group stage was also a big factor in the losses, alongside societal issues such as inflation.

Despite those losses, the LTA has continued to invest in grassroots tennis, which led to a 43-per-cent rise in participan­ts, with over 5.2m adults playing. That is the highest number since the LTA began the survey, with 2022 seeing participat­ion growing in all areas of the country and in all demographi­cs.

LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd said: “2022 was a year of real achievemen­t for British tennis at both the grassroots and top profession­al level. We made strong progress against our plans for delivering on our five-year strategy to open tennis up and achieved a number of our objectives a year early.

“There were challenges throughout the year, but we have tried to ensure the sport is thriving at all levels, continued to raise the visibility of the sport and have given our British players the best possible support.”

In this year’s BJK Cup, Great Britain will have a home tie against Sweden in the play-offs in November.

Anne Keothavong’s side must win in order to make it into next year’s qualifier where they will get a chance to go to the 2024 end-of-year finals.

They lost to France in this year’s attempt, going down 3-1 in Coventry last month.

It is a winnable tie for GB, with the venue to be decided, as they only have one player currently ranked in the top 150 in the world, with Rebecca Peterson coming in at 86.

The likes of Katie Boulter, Harriet Dart, who was beaten by France’s Elsa Jacquemot to end her hopes of making the main draw at this year’s French Open, and Heather Watson always raise their game for the team event, while Emma Raducanu could also be selected if she recovers from her current injury problems. The tie will be played on the 10-11 or 11-12 November. At the same time the end-of-year finals will take place in Seville.

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