Tennis: Michael Downey resigns as British tennis chief

LONDON (AFP) - Michael Downey has resigned as the Lawn Tennis Association's (LTA) chief executive after three years in the role.

Downey will serve six months' notice before returning to his previous position as chief executive of Tennis Canada.

The Canadian cited his desire to return home to be nearer his two sons as the driving force behind his surprise departure.

"I've been honoured to have led the LTA over the last three years, as we've sought to drive grass-roots tennis," Downey said on Thursday (Jan 12).

"While the opportunity for me to return to Tennis Canada coincided with my personal desire to return to my home country, I am hugely proud of the foundations the team at the LTA have laid in order to turn participation in Britain's beloved sport around."

Downey was in charge of the LTA during a successful period for British tennis, which included Andy Murray rising to the top of the world rankings after winning a second Wimbledon title last year.

Murray also won gold in the singles at the 2016 Rio Olympic and, together with his brother Jamie, led Britain to the Davis Cup title in 2015.

But despite those memorable triumphs, Downey endured criticism that he had failed to use the positive publicity to grow the sport in Britain.