ITFWorld Spring 2022

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ITF World Spring 2022 5 While the ITF world ranking will remain the primary measure of acceptance, from 25 April ITF World Tennis Number will be incorporated as part of the singles acceptance criteria on the ITF World Tennis Tour Juniors and ITF Seniors Tour. The ITF World Tennis Number algorithm already contains 16 million match results and, as I have said before, will provide a significant boost to grassroots competition. It will also be a major tool in the ITF's drive to increase participation and reach an ambitious target of 120 million people – another 30 million – playing tennis around the world by 2030. Building on success We have seven fantastic Billie Jean King Cup Qualifier ties coming up on 15 and 16 April. The winners will join 2021 runners-up Switzerland, Australia, Slovakia and Belgium, together with the host nation, in a 12-team six-day showdown at November's Finals. The 2021 Billie Jean King Cup was a great competition. The Czech Tennis Federation did a wonderful job in staging the Finals in Prague at such short notice and we are now ready to build on that success in 2022. We are really looking forward to celebrating the women's world cup of tennis, while we are in the latter stages of confirming a host for the 2022 Finals. An announcement will be made after the completion of April's ties. In Davis Cup, following a thrilling weekend of action which confirmed the line-up for the 2022 Finals, together with Kosmos Tennis we announced the four cities selected to host the group stage of the Finals. The multi-city group-stage format for the 2021 Finals proved a huge success and Bologna, Glasgow, Hamburg and Malaga were the successful bidders for the 2022 Finals. A key priority of our ITF2024 strategy is the growth and evolution of Davis Cup and we are delighted that the competition will be showcased in different cities around the world and delivered to even more audiences. As with Billie Jean King Cup, an announcement about the Finals host will be made shortly. I pledge Ahead of International Women's Day last month, the ITF called on its global family to showcase the game's dedication to equal opportunities by making a commitment to gender equality through its I pledge campaign. The ITF has a clear and ongoing commitment to gender equality and is proud to play an active role in worldwide solidarity by virtue of its Advantage All strategy and the HeForShe movement initiated by United Nations Women. It was great to see more than 50 presidents of federations sign the pledge – a small act in itself but one that will make a world of difference. In doing so, those presidents pledged to support and advocate for women. By making the same small gesture, it was a tangible and public commitment by the ITF family to improve gender equality, while also encouraging those presidents to lead by example and demonstrate the necessary leadership to effect lasting change. Along with Katrina Adams and Stacey Allaster, I was recently a guest of JP UNITY SOLIDARITY AND Morgan Chase where we discussed their Women on the Move programme, while they also highlighted the ITF's Advantage All strategy as a progressive initiative. A lot of work is taking place in this area and the ITF is currently consulting on changing its constitution in a way which embodies gender equality. Currently, there are three women on the ITF Board. For the ITF Board elections in 2023, we are recommending that the ITF Council approve a change to a minimum of four women Board members, then for the 2027 election a minimum of five. The goal at the ITF is for tennis to become one of the leading sports when it comes to gender equality in governance and while there has been progress, strides still need to be taken – and we intend to take them. I very much look forward to updating you on progress in the summer edition of ITFWorld. Until then, best wishes and enjoy the fantastic tennis, particularly the Billie Jean King Cup Qualifiers, which lies in store. Take care everyone. n

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