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Australia chief Wood steps down after eight years

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Tennis Australia chief executive Steve Wood will step down next month after eight years in the job and be replaced by Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley, the sporting body said on Thursday.

Wood restructured Australia tennis to put it on a firm financial footing and oversaw the development of the Australian Open into one of the strongest tournaments in the world.

While there was success in the women's game in his time in charge when Sam Stosur won the U.S. Open in 2011, Australia's long wait for another men's grand slam champion continues.

Wood said he wanted to take a break.

"It has been an incredible time," he said in a news release. "We have achieved so much. I think the platform has been established and it is now time for an intensified push to reinvigorate every element of Australian tennis."

Tennis Australia president Steve Healy paid tribute to Wood's "creative and progressive" leadership and said Tiley was his natural successor.

"Steve's departure will coincide with a renewed focus on strengthening the foundations of the sport throughout Australia," Healy said.

"Steve's legacy is that tennis is well-positioned commercially and structurally to take on these challenges."

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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