The International Tennis Federation’s development programme was first conceived in the late 1970s with the aim to help raise the level of tennis worldwide and increase the number of countries competing in mainstream international tennis.
The ITF Development Department works with more than 100 national associations from developing tennis nations on a range of initiatives from the grass roots level to participation at Grand Slams. All ITF development assistance is directed via, and in conjunction with, the national association in the country concerned.
The current Programme includes a broad range of initiatives in less developed countries ranging from the grass roots to Grand Slams. Activities include ITF/Grand Slam® touring teams, funding for junior and professional tournaments, funding for tennis facilities, travel grants for talented players, training centres and coaches education, the supply of tennis equipment and the ITF Junior Tennis Initiative. More information on all these schemes can be found throughout the site.
A number of current and former players have received assistance from the ITF/GSDF inlcuding: Gustavo Kuerten (Brazil), Nicolas Massu (Chile), Nicolas Lapentti (Ecuador), Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi (India), Eleni Daniilidou (Greece), Paradorn Srichaphan (Thailand), Cara Black (Zimbabwe), Jarkko Nieminen (Finland), Marcos Baghdatis (Cyprus), Kateryna Bondarenko (Ukraine), Viktoria Azarenka (Belarus), and Ricardas Berankis (Lithuania).
The Programme is funded by the ITF and the Grand Slam nations (via the Grand Slam Development Fund). In recent years the total annual investment in Development Programme activities has risen to over US$4 million, with over half of this being provided by the ITF and the balance coming from the Grand Slam nations. This has brought the total funding to date since 1986 (when the Grand Slam Development Fund first began) to in excess of US$79 million. In addition, Olympic Solidarity (OS) has provided more than US$350,000 for development projects.
The implementation of many of the ITF development initiatives relies on the work of the 10 full-time development officers who are the eyes and ears of the development programme. Their role is to advise and assist national associations on their tennis activities, conduct coaches courses and player training, coordinate regional competitions, identify talented players in their region as well as monitoring and assessing ITF and GSDF funded initiatives across the globe.
The Development Advisors Group comprises of ITF Board Members and advises the ITF on matters related to tennis development. Every two years, a new Development Advisors Group is appointed by the Committee of Management. The Group for the period 2011 - 2013 is as follows:
Mr Jean Gachassin (FRA / BoD)
Mr Ismail El Shafei (EGY / BoD)
Mrs Lucy S. Garvin (USA / BoD)
Mr Chris Kypriotis (BRA / BoD)
Mr Suwat Liptapanlop (THA / BoD)