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Michael Downey leaving ‘dream job’

Tennis Canada president and chief executive officer Michael Downey revealed Tuesday he will retire at the end of the year.

Canadian tennis players have enjoyed considerable success during Downey’s 15 years as head of the organization.

His second term as president and CEO, which started in 2017, includes Bianca Andreescu’s 2019 U.S. Open victory and Canada’s first Davis Cup title last year.

Downey joined Tennis Canada in 2004, and his first term saw the development of the National Tennis Centre, which developed the likes of Andreescu, Eugenie Bouchard, Milos Raonic and Felix Auger-Aliassime into stars on the WTA and ATP Tours.

Downey left after 2013 to take over as CEO of Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association, but his investment in developing players paid off with Bouchard reaching the 2014 Wimbledon final, and Raonic reaching the men’s final at the All England Club two years later.

Downey returned to Tennis Canada in 2017 after his replacement, Kelly Murumets, left at the end of the previous year.

In addition to Andreescu’s U.S. Open triumph over Serena Williams in New York — Canada first ever Grand Slam singles title — and the Davis Cup victory in Malaga, Spain, Downey’s second stint saw Leylah Fernandez advance to the 2021 U.S. Open final, Canada reach the 2019 Davis Cup final and Auger-Aliassime win four ATP Tour titles last year, including three in a row late in the season.

“Being chief executive of Tennis Canada has been my dream job,” Downey said in a news release. “I was downright lucky to have held this coveted leadership position not once, but twice. I take great pride in our highly talented, gender and city-balanced senior management team that will ensure the bold ambitions of our new strategic plan will be achieved.”

Downey stated he was inspired by Canada’s crop of talent over his time as head of Tennis Canada, which also includes Aleksandra Wozniak, Vasek Pospisil, Denis Shapovalov, Rebecca Marino, Daniel Nestor and Gabriela Dabrowski.

“They are all household names because of their on and off-court brilliance. But, their greatest legacy will be the inspiration they provide to the future generation of Canadian talent that will, in due course, ensure Canada remains a world-leading tennis nation.”

Tennis Canada says a search for a new CEO is underway.

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