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ITF Annual General Meeting a Great Success

Over 260 delegates, partners and staff attended the International Tennis Federation’s 2010 Annual General Meeting this week, held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington DC and hosted by the United States Tennis Association.

“The USTA and, in particular, its President Lucy Garvin were wonderful hosts and the organisation of this year’s AGM was perfect,” said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti. “Everyone who had the opportunity to participate in this year’s AGM was grateful for the support and hospitality of the USTA.”

The AGM was officially opened by Adrian Fenty, Mayor of Washington DC, who welcomed the delegates to the city and thanked both the ITF and USTA for choosing Washington as the venue for this year’s meeting.

Important initiatives approved by the ITF membership included passage of a rule change for all 10-and-under competition that will mandate modified courts and the use of slower balls as part of the ITF’s Tennis 10s campaign. The purpose of this change is to increase participation among the ten-and-under age group as part of the wider “Tennis… Play and Stay Initiative.”

In addition, changes to the rules of Davis Cup and Fed Cup and amendments to the ITF Constitution were passed by the assembly. Included is a change of regulation for the Fed Cup Final, similar to the rule for Davis Cup, that requires the Final be staged in a capital or major city of the host country with an accessible international airport.

Changes to membership of the ITF include an increase from three to five shares for Kazakhstan, an increase from one to three shares for Malaysia and a successful application for Class C membership for Tahiti. It was announced that suspensions had been lifted for Afghanistan and Mozambique.

Jan Carlzon, ITF Board member from Sweden (2001-2009), was made an Honorary Life Counsellor of the ITF.

H. E. Suwat Liptaplanop, President of the Lawn Tennis Association of Thailand, informed the delegates that the 2011 Annual General Meeting would be held in Bangkok, Thailand from 21-23 September. He also showed a video highlighting the functions that would be held in conjunction with the AGM.

There were 12 Awards for Services to the Game approved by the AGM, including Larisa Savchenko (LAT), Ai Sugiyama (JPN), Dr. Raymond Forde (BAR), Chuka Momah (NGR), Dan Santorum (USA), Henrik Klitvad (DEN), Dr. John Fraser OAM (AUS), David Howman (NZL), Franz Liautaud (HAI), Tian Tian Sun (CHN), Rene Collins (CAN) and Louis Cayer (CAN), a special nomination by the Coaches Commission.

Forde, Santorum and Liautaud were on hand in Washington and received their awards from the ITF President during the ITF/Davis Cup Winner’s Gala Dinner, co-hosted by the ITF and Spanish Tennis Federation at the Donald W. Reynolds Center on Wednesday evening.

During the AGM, functions for delegates were hosted by the ITF, Lawn Tennis Association, Fed Cup champions Italy and Davis Cup champions Spain, as well as a full partners’ programme organised by the ITF and USTA. Many of the delegates were also able to attend a special tour of the White House and other Washington highlights on Thursday morning.

RICCI BITTI AWARDED USOC OLYMPIC STRENGTH AWARD

During the final Gala Dinner of the AGM, hosted by the ITF and Spanish Tennis Federation, ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti was presented with the Olympic Strength Award by USOC Chief Executive Officer Scott Blackmun.

Blackmun said: “Olympism is about more than winning; it’s about inclusion and friendship and this is why the USTA decided to present this award to ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti.”

Ricci Bitti added: “I am thrilled and surprised by this award. This country, the United States, has always been very important to me and the US has much to be admired - not just in tennis but in all of sport. I accept this award, not personally but on behalf of all of the ITF.”

 

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