An open letter update from LTA CEO, Scott Lloyd

02/10/2020

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When I published my open letter back in June, I wrote that if tennis is to truly be a sport that is open to all, we have to acknowledge the inequalities that exist in society and put in place direct interventions to help address them.  That letter marked a key moment in our journey as a sport because it started with a clear acknowledgement that we haven’t yet done enough, and we need to do more.

It is that fundamental statement that has driven our thoughts and actions over the past three months as we have reviewed the steps we have taken since we first launched our vision of tennis opened up, and taken a fresh look at what more we can and should be doing across every element of our work. I am passionate about us getting to a place where we can say that tennis is a sport for anyone, no matter their race, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, background, ability or disability.

This week is National Inclusion Week, and also marks the start of Black History Month. That in itself is something the LTA has not previously acknowledged in the same way we have other similar national and international moments, but for the first time this year we will be utilising our channels to shine a spotlight on it. This week also provides an opportunity for me to follow up on my original open letter, and outline what our next steps are in our work to tackle the impacts of any racial and wider discrimination on our sport.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far

If you are yet to read the letter, then you can here, and I would encourage anyone involved in tennis to take the time to do so. I know many of you have, and I’d like to thank everyone who has replied and contributed so far.  Among the many replies have been some powerful personal stories that people from across tennis have shared.  While these are all different individual experiences, they collectively reinforce and demonstrate our need as a sport to do more.

I have responded individually to every person who has replied to the letter, and in a number of instances, myself and my LTA colleagues are continuing that dialogue. The views we have received on what should happen cover a wide range of topics. They include things such as: the importance of having greater representation of diversity in the workforce across the sport, from grassroots volunteers right through to the LTA Board; a need for improved training and policies, including around recruitment; and how targeted activity can help drive inclusion among underrepresented groups.

A responsibility to lead from the front

We have some excellent programmes in place to build upon, such as our LTA Youth, SERVES and Open Court programmes to name a few, and we have improved the way in which we listen and learn from the lived experience and viewpoints of those most impacted by all forms of discrimination. 

This is an ongoing process and we are building on progress that has already been made as we develop our strategy for increasing diversity and driving real change in tennis. We will share this with you, but I believe if such change is going to happen, then, as the national governing body for our sport, we have a clear responsibility to lead from the front.

We are pushing on with what we know needs to change for us internally as an organisation.  This includes changes to ways of working to embed inclusion and diversity throughout our approach, revising our recruitment policies and improving our approach to insight and data gathering to help understanding and inform decision-making. We have already established a steering group which includes external expertise to progress the work we need to do at pace, and to ensure this issue remains right at the top of our agenda. I have made an update on this work a standing item for our weekly Executive Team meeting, as well as for every LTA Board meeting and that is a reflection of the absolute commitment to change that I know I share with our Chair, Mervyn Davies and our President, David Rawlinson.   

Help us move our sport forward

I firmly believe that there is no place for discrimination in our sport, whether it be direct or indirect, and so if you want to help us to shape inclusion and diversity for tennis in Britain then please do get in touch to share your views – every response we receive helps us move our sport forward.

Scott Lloyd, CEO

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