ITFWorld Spring 2020

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04 Spring 2020 ITF World Welcome to the spring edition of ITFWorld. Due to the global spread and impact of the COVID-19 virus, the last few weeks have been unprecedented and we have announced the postponement of all ITF-owned and sanctioned events, including the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals. Given the severity of developments in respect of coronavirus, the ITF took the necessary measures with the health of the players, their support teams, spectators, officials and everyone involved in the staging of such events in mind. Decisions were not taken lightly and were done so following extensive consultation with independent medical, travel and security experts as well as national and international authorities. This is an evolving situation and while it is impossible to predict the length of time that tennis will be affected, we look forward to getting back to a more normal and natural calendar as soon as possible. In the meantime, we will remain vigilant, continue to monitor and assess the situation and make considered decisions based on data and facts. Team spirit While necessary and appropriate, there is no denying that postponing the tennis calendar, particularly so close to the inaugural Fed Cup Finals in Budapest, was deeply disappointing. The players and nations were so excited about the Fed Cup Finals, which represent a huge step change for women's tennis, with prize money equal to that received by teams at the Davis Cup Finals. I speak in greater depth about Fed Cup in a dedicated section on pages 20-23, but it is hoped that the tournament's Finals and Play-offs can be staged at an appropriate time in 2020. Of equal anticipation is the second edition of the Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals in November, the line-up for which is now known following March's Qualifiers. Last year's event – the first time that the revamped competition structure was held – was such a great occasion and the atmosphere throughout the entire week was outstanding. With learnings from 2019, and the natural progression of an event, it is our expectation that this year's Finals in Madrid, where we will once again crown a world champion, will be an occasion to remember. Equal opportunities While increased investment in women's tennis and the awarding of equal prize money is extremely significant, this is only part of the ITF's Advantage All gender equality initiative. The ITF is committed to improving gender equality in all areas of the game and the topic was discussed at length at our most recent Board meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland in March. We are determined to ensure that tennis is a leading light in sport and society, and a vehicle for empowering, inspiring and enabling women and girls to reach their full potential. I believe great strides have been made through Advantage All over the past couple of years. However, we must not become complacent. We are focused on developing pathways at all levels of the game, and not just on court. By championing role models, creating more leadership opportunities and challenging bias and discrimination, the strategy also provides a framework to drive off-court change. The ITF is actively encouraging more women to seek Commission and Committee roles and is committed to increasing representation of women on regional boards to 30 per cent by 2024. It is also a priority to see an increase in DAVID HAGGERTY ITF President THE PRESIDENT'S VIEW PROTECTING the sport

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