Tennis Canada announced Thursday that Michael S. Downey is returning to Tennis Canada as Chief Executive Officer – a position he held for close to a decade, from 2004 to 2013, before occupying the position at the British Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) for over three years. Mr. Downey will take office in July 2017.
Following Kelly Murumets’ decision last September to leave Tennis Canada at the end of 2016 to pursue life opportunities, Tennis Canada started a comprehensive executive search. Meanwhile, Mr. Downey – renowned for his passion and deep knowledge of the world of tennis – and his wife were contemplating a return to Canada after three years in London with the LTA.
Stars aligned for Michael’s return. “We are so happy to welcome Michael Downey back to Tennis Canada” says Derrick Rowe, chairman of the board of Tennis Canada. “He brings with him invaluable expertise he acquired with the LTA, from grass roots development of the sport of tennis at the club, community, and regional levels, to involvement with the sport at the highest international levels. We are looking forward to having him continue to build on the strong foundation developed under Kelly Murumets’ leadership”.
Mr. Downey will be returning to a Canadian tennis landscape that is more positive than ever. Under Ms. Murumets’ leadership, participation in tennis continued to rise and the Rogers Cup events in Montréal and Toronto broke records in 2016, helping Tennis Canada invest even more in tennis development. Milos Raonic is now ranked world number 3, and the future of Canadian tennis is booming with four Canadian juniors ranked in the ITF Top 10, including two 2016 Grand Slam champions: Denis Shapovalov (Wimbledon) and Félix Auger-Aliassime (US Open). The Canadian Davis Cup team also consolidated its place among the international elite with a spot in the World Group for the sixth straight season.
“The opportunity to lead Tennis Canada once again, is nothing short of an honour. I look forward to working with stakeholders within and outside of Tennis Canada, for the betterment of our great sport” says Michael Downey. Tennis is clearly on the rise in Canada, so our goal will be, working with partners, to help maximise its potential. While I have thoroughly enjoyed leading the LTA as its chief executive, living in Great Britain and am very proud of our accomplishments over the past three years, I now look forward to reconnecting with my home land – Canada.”
Mr. Downey will complete his term in London and join Tennis Canada in July 2017, just in time for the Rogers Cup and the events to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Tennis Canada’s National Training Centre, which was founded under Mr. Downey’s leadership. Derrick Rowe will work closely with the senior leadership team during the transition.