Michael Downey expected to make big impact as new chief executive of the LTA

Milos Raonic backs his fellow Canadian to succeed

Milos Raonic believes that his fellow Canadian, Michael Downey, will make a big noise in every sense when he takes over as chief executive of the Lawn Tennis Association next year. Raonic has known Downey, the head of Tennis Canada, ever since the world No 11's days as an emerging junior and has been grateful for his support, not least at Davis Cup ties.

Raonic, who led Canada to the Davis Cup semi-finals before losing to Serbia in Belgrade last month, said here on Thursday: "He gets loud with the fans at the Davis Cup. In Serbia he would be one of the voices you could hear. He wouldn't sit in the courtside seats. He'd be up in the crowd with the Canadian fans. You could hear his voice above everybody else's. He has a low, growelly voice and it stands out. Every single time you could pick it out.

"The first time I noticed it on court was in 2010, when I was playing in qualifying for the US Open. I could hear him all the time. He gets very involved emotionally because he wants you to do well. He's not just doing his job as a businessman. He really cares about the players and has a very good relationship with them. I think it means a lot personally to him that those players do well."

Raonic, who beat Lukas Lacko 6-3, 6-3 here today to reach the semi-finals of the Rakuten Japan Open, believes that Canada's loss will be Britain's gain. Downey, who has a business background, has been a great success in his nine years with Tennis Canada. During his time in charge Canada have equalled their best ever showing in the Davis Cup, produced two junior Wimbledon champions and seen the number of people playing tennis in the country rise by 30 per cent.

"He came in as a businessman," Raonic said. "He understood what needed to be done. The best thing was that he surrounded himself with good people. From the start he didn't pretend that he knew everything about tennis. He made sure that he had top-notch professionals around him.

"He also took direct control. These guys he brought in would report to him directly, rather than to somebody underneath him. Ever since I started working at the national training centre, when I was 16 or 17, whenever my parents needed to see him, he would set up a meeting within two days. I think for a lot of people he will be a big loss emotionally. A lot of the players have had a personal relationship with Michael and will miss him."

As for the improvement in participation figures, Raonic said that Downey, who will replace the much-criticised Roger Draper at the LTA in January, had achieved results with actions rather than words.

"He has put lot of willpower and a lot of funding into the development side," Raonic said. "He was aware that the best way to advertise the sport was through success. He got to that point via the right approach. He's managed it very well - not only with sponsors and TV, but also with the players."

Raonic thinks Downey is a good choice for the LTA. "From what I understand, the resources he will have are significantly more, maybe 10 times more than he had at Tennis Canada. I think he'll be able to do a lot of good things with that sort of funding. He'll also find the right people to surround himself with."

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Sport
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice