LTA turn to Tim Henman to help plot pathway for world-class players to develop

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The Lawn Tennis Association has recruited Tim Henman and Jamie Delgado as part of a new high-performance strategy it hopes will make the UK a world-class base for player development.

Six-time grand slam semi-finalist Henman, Andy Murray’s coach Delgado and former British women’s number one Sam Smith will form a performance advisory group to work alongside the LTA’s high-performance team.

Devised by performance director Simon Timson, the governing body will next month unveil a long-awaited high-performance strategy, including naming at least one new national academy.

Former chief executive Michael Downey never got to grips with the performance side in his three years in the role and, four months into the tenure of new head Scott Lloyd, the LTA is putting in place a pathway it hopes will provide players from age seven and up a clear route to the top.

The new advisory group is partly recognition that many of those in key roles at the LTA, including Timson, do not come from a tennis background.

Lloyd said: “With a focus on creating a seamless pathway for talent development, the new performance strategy marks a step-change in the LTA’s approach to developing a pipeline of future tennis champions.

“I am delighted that we will be able to tap into the extensive and diverse experience from Jamie, Sam and Tim and thank them for being generous enough to give back to the sport they have devoted so much of their lives to.”

Henman said: “This advisory group will support the LTA’s performance team to always understand the perspective of developing players when planning and delivering programmes with the aim of fully reaching their potential on the world stage.”

Growing and improving the British coaching workforce will be essential to the success or otherwise of the strategy, and Delgado added: “A key strand of the LTA performance strategy will be in how we recruit, retain and develop more world-class coaches at every age and stage of the pathway. I look forward to sharing my experience in that process.”

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