The LTA makes first profit in four years

By Russell FullerBBC tennis correspondent
Wimbledon
Wimbledon has been cancelled for the first time since World War Two because of the coronavirus pandemic

The LTA has returned a profit for the first time in four years - partly due to the financial success of last year's Wimbledon.

British tennis' governing body recorded an operating profit of £8.7m in 2019, having lost £6.3m the previous year.

The LTA has increased its reserves to more than £75m.

But the cancellation of this year's Wimbledon, and all of the summer grass court events, means that money is very likely to be drawn upon in future.

"Whilst the LTA delivered a profit for 2019, the current outlook for 2020 and beyond will be very different due to the financial impact of the current pandemic," the LTA said in a statement.

Around 50% of its staff are currently furloughed, and the organisation does not think its reserves should disqualify it from receiving government support.

"Our responsibility is to protect the long term growth and future of the sport in Britain," the statement continued.

"Our reserves, in isolation, can only support the short term needs of the sport at this time. The Government furlough scheme is an essential measure to assist organisations, including the LTA, manage such cash flow constraints and to safeguard jobs in the future."

The surplus the LTA receives from The All England Club is certain to fall next year, even though pandemic insurance will shelter the Club from the worst effects of cancellation.

The All England Club has agreed to pay the LTA 90% of its annual surplus until 2053.

The LTA has also put aside up to £20m in grants and interest free loans to help venues, coaches, players and officials through the crisis.

Staging Fed Cup ties at Bath University and London's Copper Box Arena helped the LTA's commercial revenue rise by just over 10% last year.

Spending on the performance budget, meanwhile, increased by a third. Academies have been opened in Loughborough and Stirling as the LTA aims to make Britain "one of the most respected nations in the world for player development."