LTA gives rescue package to grassroots tennis

Wimbledon (File)
Wimbledon (File)

The Lawn Tennis Association has pledged a 20 million Pound (R465 million) rescue package to protect the sport's grassroots in Britain during the coronavirus.

Just two days after Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since World War II, the LTA announced their cash injection will go to tennis venues, coaches, officials and players in Britain affected by the pandemic.

A statement from the LTA said the money will "aid those who have been most severely affected by the pandemic" with the focus on protecting the grassroots, although there is also support available to the professional game.

After the cancellation of their most lucrative tournament - the Wimbledon warm-up at Queen's Club - LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd and members of the executive team will take a 20 per cent pay cut, while a number of staff are expected to be furloughed from next week.

"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," Lloyd said on Friday.

"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."

The cancellation of Wimbledon means that the tennis season will not resume until July 13 at the earliest.

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