The International Tennis Federation are hoping to adapt to a more digital audience ©ITF

International Tennis Federation (ITF) expect to have an increased digital focus in the coming years amid efforts to continue engage with young audiences.

The theme was explored at the ITF Conference, which took place prior to the organisation’s Annual General Meeting.

Tomorrow will see the ITF Presidential election with incumbent David Haggerty, Ireland’s David Miley India’s Anil Khanna and the Czech Republic’s Ivo Kaderka in contention.

The victor will be expected to lead an increasingly digital organisation, with the theme of the conference titled "transforming tennis".

ITF chief operating officer Kelly Fairweather gave a presentation on the increasing digital demands on a federation, highlighting the growth of a data and consumer driven landscape.

He cited the "Future of Global Sport" report, released by the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations earlier this year.

The report stressed the need for governing bodies to re-evaluate their role and strategies in favour of increased partnerships and collaboration with the private sector, embracing digital innovations and transforming their business models.

"The need to transform is real, and urgent," Fairweather said.

"When you look across all major sports and the rapid change and disruptions, the best place to start is by looking at young consumers and the different demands they are making on sports and leisure time.

"PricewaterhouseCoopers lists shifting behaviour of the younger generation as the number one threat to the sports industry.

"Our content has to be increasingly innovative to appeal to fans who are digital-first in order to keep their attention.

"t’s clear to us that digital transformation will become a major focus in the coming years."

A workshop with speakers from social media agency Livewire Sport and Facebook took place to help member associations.

A panel discussion also took place on efforts to ensure young people remain in sport, as well as the challenge of making tennis accessible in urban areas.

Haggerty, who will seek a second term in office, outlined changes to the Davis and Fed Cup tournaments as part of the efforts to develop the sport.

Changes to the World Tennis Tour and world tennis rankings were also highlighted, with claims the efforts have helped provide pathways for junior and entry level athletes into the top tiers of the sport.

A world tennis number was launched in July to help players determine their level, so they can identify opponents and competitions of an appropriate standard.

It is claimed this will lead to more competitive and enjoyable playing opportunities.