Olympians to head new ITF players‘ panels

Olympians Mary Pierce and Mark Woodforde have been chosen to chair new players panels created by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), which seeks to give athletes competing on the men’s and women’s ITF World Tennis Tour a greater say in how the circuit is run. 

  • The creation of the ITF Player Panel for men and women is part of an ITF strategy to improve communication with athletes. 
  • The panels will be chaired by Olympians Mary Pierce and Mark Woodforde. 
  • Athlete365 has plenty of resources to help newly established athletes’ commissions become effective.  

The ITF World Tennis Tour Player Panels will provide a forum for players to provide their input to the ITF, which is aiming to better engage with the athlete community. The Panel will advise and make recommendations to the ITF World Tennis Tour Committee, which in turn reports to the ITF Board of Directors. 

Tennis legends to lead Panels 
Pierce, who won four Grand Slam titles and competed for France at three editions of the Olympic Games, will chair the women’s panel. Woodforde, an Australian 17-time Grand Slam doubles champion and gold and silver Olympic medallist, will chair the men’s panel. Both also serve as an athlete representative on the ITF Board of Directors. 

They will be joined by seven players from both the men’s and women’s ITF World Tennis Tour as well as an ITF-appointed coach. Over 1,000 players on the ITF World Tennis Tour turned out to vote for their representatives in the election which took place between 28 May and 10 June 2020. The elected player members of the panels are:

 Men’s Tennis Panel  Women’s Tennis Panel
 Jose Bendeck (COL)  Akgul Amanmuradova (UZB)
 Ti Chen (TPE)  Ines Ibbou (ALG)
 Niki Kalayanda Poonacha (IND)   Petra Januskova (CAN)
 Juan Pablo Paz (ARG)  Yuliana Lizarazo (COL)
 Aldin Sektic (BIH)  Tara Moore (GBR)
 Francesco Vilardo (ITA)  Conny Perrin (SUI)
 TBD  Olivia Tjandramulia (AUS)

There would be no tennis without the players, so it is vital that their voice is heard and that their views are considered when making decisions about how to run the tour,” said Pierce. As Chair of the women’s tennis panel, I will ensure that the players’ views are relayed to both the ITF Board and the ITF World Tennis Tour Committee, so that the players’ opinions are heard at every level.” 

There would be no tennis without the players, so it is vital that their voice is heard and that their views are considered when making decisions about how to run the tour

Woodforde added: “The ITF World Tennis Tour Player Panel will be a great place for players to come together and discuss the issues that matter most to themIt is essential that athletes have a significant voice in the running of the sport, and the formation of this panel gives the ITF the more opportunities to engage collaboratively with the player community.” 

Athletes given greater say 
Improving communication with players is an important part of the ITF2024 strategy. The ITF World Tennis Tour Player Panel is the most recent to be formed, with ITF player panels already in place to represent athletes on the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour (formed in 2018), the ITF Seniors circuit (2017) and ITF Beach Tennis Tour (2019). 

“It is vital that the views of players are represented at all levels of the sport and across the globe,” explained David Haggerty, ITF President and IOC Member. “That is why we are establishing an ITF World Tennis Tour Player Panel to represent the interests and collective voice of athletes competing on the men’s and women’s ITF World Tennis Tour.   

The elected members will serve a term until the end of the 2021 season, and thereafter will serve two-year terms. The Panel will meet at least twice per year via video conference. 

To explore our online collection of Athletes’ Commission resources designed to empower and inspire you, click here.