Tim Henman, Jamie Delgado and Sam Smith to advise LTA on building new ‘pathway for champions’

The LTA confirm that Tim Henman, Jamie Delgado, and Sam Smith are to form a new Performance Advisory Group for British Tennis

Marianne Bevis
By Marianne Bevis
Former Wimbledon semi-finalist Tim Henman Photo: The Sport Review

The Lawn Tennis Association has announced that former British tennis professionals Tim Henman, Jamie Delgado, and Sam Smith are to form a new Performance Advisory Group for British Tennis, working alongside the LTA’s current High Performance team.

As part of a new 10-year strategy for performance tennis in Great Britain, the trio will play a vital role in guiding the development of a new “pathway for champions” which sits at the heart of the strategy.

Henman, Delgado and Smith bring a breadth of knowledge and experience to the table.

Henman won 11 ATP singles titles during his 15-year career, reached No4 in the world, and made four semi-finals and four further quarter-finals at Wimbledon. He also reached the semis at both the US and French Opens, the Masters Cup [the forerunner of the World Tour Finals], and won the Paris Masters title from among four Masters finals.

For GB, he also won Olympic silver in doubles and played 21 times in Davis Cup.

Delgado had a standout junior career, becoming the first Briton to win the prestigious under-14 Orange Bowl title in 1991. He turned pro in 1995, and holds the all-time male record for playing in 23 consecutive Wimbledon Championships (singles or doubles). Since retiring, he has moved into coaching, and joined Andy Murray in 2016 for what would be Murray’s most successful season: Victory at Wimbledon, the Olympics and the World Tour Finals took him to No1 for the first time.

Smith, formerly the British No1 and No55 in the world, played for GB at the 1992 Olympics and 13 times in Fed Cup. She is now a familiar face on the broadcasting side of the sport.

The trio will help the LTA understand the perspective of aspiring players and enable the High Performance team to plan and deliver programmes that will allow talented players from the age of seven to reach the top 100 in the world and achieve tournament success.

The strategy will be specifically designed to allow the best British players to regularly train and compete with one another at every stage of their development. New regional and national academies will form a core part of the pathway, with plans due to be announced by the LTA in the coming weeks.

There will also be further investment in a specialist coaching workforce for every age and stage of the pathway, with a clear player development philosophy, as well as a focus on players’ physical and emotional wellbeing.

The LTA’s Performance Director, Simon Timson, said:

“The success of British players in recent years has given British Tennis a huge boost. Our priority now is maintaining and building on this success, and that’s why I am thrilled that Jamie, Sam and Tim have agreed to support us in implementing our Performance Strategy.

“They will play a critical role in helping our Performance Team understand the perspective of both aspiring and professional tennis players when planning and delivering programmes.”

Delgado stressed:

“A key strand of the LTA Performance Strategy will be in how we recruit, retain and develop more world-class coaches at every age and stage of the pathway. I look forward to sharing my experience in that process.”

Smith added:

“An important element of the LTA’s performance mission is how we maximise the potential of girls and young women aspiring to perform at the highest level, and we aim to do that by ensuring the strategy delivers programmes that provide the right blend of coaching, science, medicine and broader support.”

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