TENNIS: Wade taken on board to help the game

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TENNIS: Virginia Wade, the last Briton to win a Wimbledon singles title, has been given the task of helping to revamp the nation's embarrassing professional game, writes John Roberts.

Wade, along with Mike Davies, a former Davis Cup player who was the general manager of the International Tennis Federation, has been appointed as a non-executive director of the Lawn Tennis Association's new International and Professional Tennis Division.

The board also includes Alan Mills, the Wimbledon referee, Ian King, the former LTA president, and is chaired by Malcolm Gracie, a member of the Wimbledon Championships Committee.

International and professional tennis is one of three new divisions taking shape in an LTA restructuring programme designed to streamline the administrative process.

The other departments are National Tennis Development and Facilities. John Hunter, former chairman of SmithKline Beecham Consumer Brands and a director of David Lloyd Leisure, has joined the the National Development Division. Each of the divisional boards will report to the main board of management, chaired by John Robbins, the LTA president, and including Sir Geoffrey Cass, the deputy president, who headed the working group responsible for the changes.

n Jeremy Bates, the British No1, reached the second round of the New Zealand Open in Auckland yesterday without playing a shot. Bates led the American qualifier Brian Dunn 7-5, 0-1 in a match that had been halted by rain on Monday. Dunn then pulled out as the players warmed up on Tuesday afternoon, citing a groin injury.