The International Tennis Federation’s development programme was first conceived in the late 1970s with the aim to help raise the level of tennis worldwide and increase the number of countries competing in mainstream international tennis.
The ITF Development department works with more than 150 National Associations from developing tennis nations on a range of initiatives from the grass roots level to participation at Grand Slams. All ITF development assistance is directed via, and in conjunction with, the National Association in the country concerned.
The current programme includes a broad range of initiatives in less developed countries ranging from the grass roots to Grand Slams. Activities include touring teams, funding for junior and professional tournaments, funding for tennis facilities, travel grants for talented players, training centres and coach education, the supply of tennis equipment and the Junior Tennis Initiative. More information on all these schemes can be found throughout the site.
A number of current and former players have received assistance from the ITF/GSDF including: Li Na (CHN), Gustavo Kuerten (BRA), Nicolas Massu (CHI), Nicolas Lapentti (ECU), Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi (IND), Eleni Daniilidou (GRE), Paradorn Srichaphan (THA), Cara Black (ZIM), Jarkko Nieminen (FIN), Marcos Baghdatis (CYP), Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR), Victoria Azarenka (BLR), and Ricardas Berankis (LTU).
The programme is funded by the ITF and the Grand Slam® nations (via the Grand Slam® Development Fund). In recent years the total annual investment in Development Programme activities has risen to US$5 million, with over half of this being provided by the ITF and the balance coming from the Grand Slam nations. This has brought the total funding to date since 1986 (when the Grand Slam Development Fund first began) to in excess of US$106 million. In addition, Olympic Solidarity (OS) provides approximately US$300,000 for development projects each year.
The implementation of many of the ITF development initiatives relies on the work of the ten Development Officers who are the eyes and ears of the Development Programme. Their role is to advise and assist National Associations on their tennis activities, conduct coach's courses and player training, coordinate regional competitions, identify talented players in their region as well as monitoring and assessing ITF and GSDF funded initiatives across the globe.
The Development Advisors Group comprises of ITF Board Members and advises the ITF on matters related to tennis development. Every two years, a new Development Advisers Group is appointed by the Committee of Management. The Group for the period 2015 - 2017 is as follows:
Mr Anil Khanna (IND / BoD)
Mr Sergio Elias (CHI / BoD)
Mr Ismail El Shafei (EGY / BoD)
Mr Bernard Giudicelli (FRA / BoD)
Mr Jack Graham (CAN / BoD)