02 Aug 2017

Investment in development at heart of ITF2024 strategy

News Article

Photo: Paul ZimmerExecutive Director of Development Luca Santilli at the 2017 ITF Conference and AGM

Expanded investment in tennis development is at the heart of the ITF’s 2024 agenda, with the ITF set to increase spending in this area by $4.4 million between 2016 and 2018.

In his address to nations on the opening day of the 2017 ITF Conference, Executive Director of Tennis Development Luca Santilli highlighted how the existing and newly-launched programmes within the ITF’s 2017-2020 Development strategy can support national associations through their development journey to deliver the next generation of players and fans.

Santilli said: “Our national and regional associations have a key role in in working together with the ITF to change lives, and provide opportunity to young people to develop their talents and skills and achieve their dreams through tennis.”

The ITF has identified four strategic development pillars – events, facilities, coaching and programmes (including both participation and performance) - that will allow the organisation to deliver on the two core objectives of increasing participation and developing talented players.

Santilli informed delegates about a new coaches education programme, the Online Coaching Academy, that will be launched in 2018 and will allow the ITF to certify coaches for the first time. The project will aim to educate a sufficient number of appropriately qualified coaches globally through online certification courses, while maintaining the necessary face-to-face tutor contact hours.

He reaffirmed the ITF’s objective to establish and support a global competitive structure. To further support the transition of young players from the Tennis 10s programme to the ITF Junior Team Competitions, the ITF has introduced a series 12 & Under Team Competitions in 2017, with regional qualifying events held in the first half of the year, and the best teams qualifying for year-end finals.

Santilli confirmed the launch in February of the ITF National Training Centre Network Programme, a pilot project that supports National Associations in developing their existing National Training Centres. This can include the provision of an ITF approved expert who can work with federations on core functions such as centre management, national coach training and national player development.

The traditional facility grant programme is now supporting the construction of new training centres as well as the expansion and renovations of existing centres.

Santilli highlighted the continued importance of the Grand Slam Development Fund (GSDF) in developing competitive opportunities on a worldwide basis. In 2017, the Fund has supported the new International Player Grand Slam Grants that have been awarded to 14 players from 12 countries, who are believed to have the potential to rise to the top of the game. Six players have also been selected to form the first-ever International College ITF/GSDF Teams designed to assist players who intend to play professionally after leaving college in the United States.

He said: “The development strategy is contributing to the success of ITF2024 by focusing on three of its priorities: by having a strong and effective development programme; by providing opportunity to play at all levels of the game anywhere in the world;  and by engaging with, listening to and understanding our national and regional associations. The continued increase of the development budget in 2018 and beyond remains our goal and underlines the ITF’s commitment to tennis development.”