Bates lands top LTA role

Great Britain's Fed Cup coach Iain Bates has been appointed head of women's tennis at the Lawn Tennis Association.

Bates, who works with team captain Judy Murray on Fed Cup duty, has seen Britain's elite women reach the World Group II play-offs for the second year in succession, and they face a trip to Argentina in April.

He steps up from his role as LTA women's tennis manager to his new role, vacated by Leon Smith who has spent 16 months as head of men's and women's tennis, and captain of the Davis Cup team.

Smith retains his men's game and Davis Cup duties, the roles he held before taking over from Nigel Sears who left his role in charge of women's tennis in favour of coaching Ana Ivanovic.

The LTA announced the changes in a statement on its website on Wednesday.

It stated that Murray, mother of US Open and Olympic champion Andy Murray and doubles specialist Jamie Murray, would stay in her roles as Fed Cup captain and player development advisor.

The LTA said Murray would "lead the LTA's work to develop and support more female coaches to work with the younger female players".

A further male appointment on the women's side of the LTA was announced, with former British number one Jeremy Bates named lead coach.

LTA chief executive Roger Draper said: "I'd like to congratulate Iain on his new role.

"This is a really exciting time for the women's game in this country, and these changes will help us not only to deliver success in this area, but also enable us to continue to use the inspirational performances of our players to encourage more women and girls to play and follow tennis.

"I'd also like thank Leon for the key part he has played in the development of the women's team over the past two years.

"His focus now is going to be just as important, in overseeing the transition of some of our highly talented male juniors into the senior game, and developing the Aegon GB Davis Cup team."

Britain has two women in the world's top 50, with Heather Watson 41st and Laura Robson 45th.