LTA start looking for chief executive

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The Independent Online
David Lloyd's name immediately came to mind after the Lawn Tennis Association announced yesterday that it was seeking a chief executive to replace Ian Peacock, who has decided to leave when his contract expires in September.

Lloyd, renowned as the governing body's fiercest critic, was persuaded to accept the challenge of becoming Davis Cup captain last year. Whether his ambition extends to placing himself in a position of being answerable only to the LTA Council - let alone the Council's view of such a prospect - remains to be seen.

Asked on one occasion if he fancied an executive role, Lloyd said he would not be offered one because his policy was to get rid of everybody.

After his playing career ended, Lloyd created an empire of tennis and leisure centres, which he sold to Whitbread for pounds 20m last year, while retaining an executive position. The company might not welcome an early departure.

As Davis Cup captain, the 48-year-old Lloyd already has a place on the board of the LTA's International Tennis Division, initiated by Peacock to separate the professional game from the grass roots in the hope of improving playing standards.

Wimbledon's annual pre-tax profits go to the LTA for the development of the British game. Since Peacock's appointment in 1986, contributions from the championships have totalled pounds 138.33m.

His major achievement has been the building of indoor tennis centres, an endeavour to make amends for almost two decades of neglect by the LTA to keep pace with developments in the sport overseas. The 40th centre is due to be opened later this year. The latest initiative is a pounds 25m community tennis programme over the next five years.

n Michael Stich pulled out of the Italian indoor tournament in Milan yesterday after suffering a recurrence of an ankle injury in a locker- room incident. ATP Tour officials reported that Stich, the No 7 seed, injured his left ankle while changing for a match against Guy Forget.