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LTA revel in Murray effect

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:01

The British game is also indebted to Andy Murray, who has broken into the top four of the world rankings this summer after winning the Masters Series event in Cincinnati and reaching the final of the US Open.

Smith said: “I really believe this is an exciting time for British tennis. At the top end of the game we are seeing some signs of success,” Smith said. “We have a very long way to go but it is going in the right direction.”

Murray’s success at senior level, coupled with the potential of junior Wimbledon champion Laura Robson, has raised the profile of British tennis and helped pave the way for the Lawn Tennis Association to strike a “unique” deal with AEGON.

The agreement, which runs from 2009 to the end of 2013, provides AEGON with naming rights to the Queen’s Club championships plus the Eastbourne International and Edgbaston Classic.

“I think things are getting better and today is a really exciting time for us. This is a sea-change for British tennis,” added Smith.

The LTA announced in May they would be seeking a new lead partner after undertaking a “root and branch” review of the organisation’s sponsorship and commercial activities.

The LTA previously had a “scatter-gun approach” with 44 sponsors who,

according to chief executive Roger Draper, would pay £10,000-£20,000 on the basis of ‘Give us some money and we’ll bang you some Wimbledon tickets’.

The LTA plan to invest the additional funds across the four key strands of their business – the community programme, the competitive programme, the major event programme and the performance programmes.

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