ITFWorld Spring 2022

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4 Spring 2022 ITF World PRESIDENT'S VIEW ITF President David Haggerty uses his ITFWorld welcome address to reflect on a challenging few months which have seen progressive steps taken Bologna was one of four ci es selected to host the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals group stage Welcome to the spring 2022 edition of ITFWorld. The beginning of 2022 has been challenging and the fallout from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, facilitated by Belarus, has been widespread, with decisive action required. A deep sense of distress, shock and sadness continues to be felt across the entire tennis community and our thoughts remain with the people of Ukraine during this desperately difficult time. Last month, we announced the immediate suspension of the Russian Tennis Federation and Belarus Tennis Federation from ITF membership and from participation in ITF international team competition until further notice. There have been acts of solidarity since, not least the ITF, ATP, WTA and the four Grand Slams – Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open – launching the Tennis Plays for Peace initiative to support humanitarian relief efforts. The ITF continues to work closely with the Ukrainian Tennis Federation in every way possible, whether that be assisting players and representatives fleeing Ukraine or supporting the ability of players to compete around the world. For instance, ahead of the Billie Jean King Cup Qualifier between USA and Ukraine in Asheville, North Carolina, we have been liaising with the USTA to ensure the Ukraine team has access to everything it needs to perform at its highest level. Together with the USTA, we are covering the costs of accommodation, training, coaching, physios etc to relieve that additional pressure given everything those players and the National Association are going through. We also thank the nations who have offered support for Ukrainian players to train and compete in their countries. When major global events impact sport, it really does make an organisation think and act more strategically and that is what the ITF and the rest of tennis has done in recent weeks. Global disasters are never mentioned in job descriptions and, ideally, we would have faced less than we have in recent years, but we deal with them when they arise and work in the best interests of our member nations. Positivity across the board While the situation in Ukraine is regrettable, there has been positivity in other areas during the first few months of the year, and the continued expansion of the ITF World Tennis Tour is one. There are more ITF World Tennis Tour events being held in the first quarter of this year than during the first quarter of 2019 which, in effect, was the last normal season before the Covid-19 pandemic. It is fantastic to see the increases in competition across the ITF Tours and I would like to thank the nations and tournament directors for staging these events and continuing the process of bringing tennis back. ITF World Tennis Number also continues to gather momentum and will soon be launched in the United States by the USTA, having already been rolled out in Great Britain, Singapore, Ireland and Lithuania.

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